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LG 42LD450 42-Inch 1080p 60 Hz LCD HDTV

First off: We did not purchase this TV from Amazon, we purchased it at a local retail store, not for any other reason than the price (we paid a few hundred less than the current Amazon price)

My husband and I purchased this back in April, it was either this or the Phillips that they had set right beside it, it was really a hard choice as the Phillips was marked down to just a few hundred dollars, whilst this was just under six fifty. We are so very glad that we went with this model(42LD450). The video quality is quite good, blacks are black, and whites are white, back light is very bright, and video quality is amazing.

We almost took this back however: When we first plugged it in and turned it on, the only picture was a white screen with the Firmware version bouncing around, no menu would come up and it would not acknowledge anything had been connected. Well, we unplugged it again, and turned it back on, and this time, it acknowledged the DVR (input 1) and starting spewing forth video and audio We have had no problems since that.

My only gripe is that we will have to go out and purchase a new unit for our surround system, as the TV only has a Optical Audio Output. And on that note, the built in speakers are not awesome, yes, they are very usable, but like almost all TV speakers, they are not going to satisfy your need for spectacular surround.

This is definitely worth the buy, I really think you will be happy with your purchase. Thank You For Reading.

LG 32LD350 32-Inch 720p 60 Hz LCD HDTV

This is the first LCD TV I’ve bought so I did a tone of research before finally settling on this unit.

Things I love about this TV:

-The backlight on this thing turns way up so you don’t have to worry about having dark scenes like in Interview with the vampire you can’t see. The wide viewing angle is also great.

-On the quick menu you can easily change the sound between Music and Cinema and I can actually hear the difference. Yes they are tv speakers not surround sound but for my studio apartment it is more then adequate.

-I noticed I was getting a little noise on the sound when I had the Clear Voice on but totally fixed it when I put the Auto Volume option on in the audio main menu.

-I keep the tv on a lot for music during the day since I work from home and there is this great button on the remote labeled energy where you can quickly adjust from 100% which is the best for viewing to maximum energy saving. I like this not only for the energy savings but also to save the back light from 100% constant use.

-I noticed that one of my shows off of my Roku (digital box that streams netflix) wasn’t HD and the picture wasn’t looking to hot. I adjusted on the picture main menu the aspect ratio to Just Scan and it actually cleaned it up really nicely. This is important,several of my friends have really ritzy tv set ups but if it’s not HD the picture is almost unbearable. This one you can watch older movies/tv shows and HD without having to fiddle with everything to get a good picture.

-Overall picture quality can be adjusted by so many advanced options that if you play with it I’m sure you can get exactly what you want.

-I know it is 720 versus 1080 but at this price range when I looked at the specs if you go for 1080 it seems that you will get dark spots in dark scenes and it’s refresh rate will be so low that you will notice it in quick scenes plus the audio seemed unreliable. I think at this 32inch size 720 is really not that noticeable.

Very satisfied customer. Only complaint is you need 4 screws to attach the tv to it’s base and my baggy only came with 3 in it. Luckily the hardware store is right down the street so I was able to get something comparable instead of waiting for them to ship it.

Do your self a favor, get some good HDMI cables with noise reduction that can handle full HD (found some on amazon for like $7). I haven’t experienced any blurring at all on this tv while watching movies/shows like others have commented about. Regular cables don’t cut it and you won’t want to wait when your tv arrives.

Happy Viewing

TCL L32HDF11TA 32-Inch 720p 60 Hz LCD HDTV with 2-Year Warranty Black

Bought this for my college dorm this year and it works great! The picture is just as good as my samsung at home! My xbox 360 in HD looks amazing in 720p, you won’t be able to tell the difference between 1080p at 32 inches. It’s easy to set up right out of the box and the best thing is that it comes with a 2 YEAR WARRANTY! Overall for 320 dollars it provides great value! I don’t think you’ll find a new 32 inch TV cheaper anywhere else. Give it a chance!

Panasonic TC-L32X2 32-Inch 720p LCD HDTV with iPod Dock

I bought three new 32-inch LCD TVs in one week, and returned the first two because of faulty video inputs. The third TV I bought is this high-quality, Panasonic TC-L32X2 TV, which was just released in February 2010. My experience enabled me to compare three similar TVs, giving me good insight to write this review.

I initially bought two other 32-inch LCD TVs; a Vizio VO320E and a Sony BRAVIA BX 300 Series (model KDL-32BX300). I returned both of them because of identical video input problems. I connected two different brands of DVD players to each TV, and when I played DVDs, there were alternating horizontal stripes of discoloration on the screen, indicating a problem with the video inputs on the TVs. I returned both TVs to the retailer because both of these DVD players worked perfectly on two other TVs in my house, including a one-year-old Panasonic plasma.

Then I bought the Panasonic TC-L32X2 TV listed here. After the initial setup, the first thing I tested was the video output from a DVD player, and was relieved to find that the video was crisp and clear, with no stripes of discoloration like on the other two TVs. Then I flipped through the channels from a direct cable TV input (no cable box), and the TV output was excellent as well, and definitely better than the other two TVs that I had to return. Also, the build of the TV was noticeably of higher quality than the other two TVs. The remote has plenty of features, and is not cheap (like the ones that came with other two TVs).

This Panasonic TC-L32X2 TV comes with one cable TV input, one set of component video inputs (red/blue/green video and red/white audio), two sets of composite video inputs (red/white/yellow), three HDMI inputs, a PC input, an iPod dock with connector cable and rear input, an SD camera card input, and a Dolby digital audio output.

TCL L40FHDF11TA 40-Inch 1080p 60 Hz LCD HDTV with 2-Year Warranty Black

I had not heard of the TCL brand before and did a little bit of research to find out that they’re a Chinese company that has manufactured products for domestic sales since the mid-80s. Now they are selling their products here. The concern with any unknown brand would be longevity – will the TV last past the warranty? I can’t comment on that, of course, because I’ve only had this TV for a few days. I can say that it was very easy to set up, and it produces a nice sharp picture. In addition to good HD streaming, it also produces a very nice image on the standard-definition channels. The sound from the speakers is a little flat, so if you care about high-quality sound, I would recommend connecting external speakers. At 40 inches, it’s a nice size for a smaller living area. An attachable stand is included. There is no hardware included for wall mounting. It probably took me 10 minutes from the time I got the TV out of the box to having it up and running with stand attached. You’ll need an HD cable to connect to your cable box or other receiver. Then you set the TV input to the HDMI setting, and you’re watching TV. If you want to set your cable/universal remote to operate this TV, you may have a problem, since TCL is a newer brand and may not be included in your receiver’s list of brand codes.

Overall, this is a very nice TV at a good price. The two-year warranty should take some of the concerns out of purchasing, but I’ll be interested to see how the TV does in the long run.

Toshiba 32C100U 32-Inch 720p LCD HDTV (Black Gloss)

This is my first HDTV, but not the first I’ve had experience with. I wasn’t sure what to expect with it when I hooked it up but I am not at all unhappy with this television.

My main uses for this TV include:
HD Gaming (Xbox 360)
SD Gaming (Wii, PS2)
and DVDs

Usability:
The remote is easy to read and easy to use. It’s far more streamlined than my previous television’s remote and easy to get at what I want to. It’s easy to set the Input channels: TV, Video out, Colorstream HD (the channel for the composite hook-ups), HDMI 1, HDMI 2, and PC. You also have the choice of 6 ways to display what’s on screen, which is handy when switching between game consoles that are HD to one that is a bit older and displays in non-Progressive SD.

Screen Quality and Clarity:
The screen displays BEAUTIFULLY, crisply, and cleanly. The reaction time and contrast is very good just looking at it with a discerning eye. My HD video games play really well and whether I’m playing RPG’s or a fast paced FPS games, everything comes out clear, crisp, and with no artifacts when the picture is moving fast. DVDs display sharply and clearly and I don’t have to squint or toy with the contrast to make anything out, even in darker games or movies.
Another great thing about this TV is that you have to move at very odd angles, sometimes even almost completely facing the side to get a major loss in viewing quality. You don’t have to sit straight across from it to get the only good picture, sometimes I sit on the floor a few front of the TV looking up at it and it’s still clear and perfect. So if you’re pressed for space like I am, this is a great TV.

Sound:
It’s a bit tinnier than my previous set’s bombastic sound but it’s still great without an added speaker system. The volume is really good, and it sounds gorgeous for the sounds of my 360 games. With or without a home theater speaker system, it sounds fantastic.

All in all, this is a GREAT SET, doubly so if you are looking to have BANG FOR YOUR BUCK.
I am a regular DVD watcher and hardcore gamer and this perfectly suits my needs, as well as my family who just like to use it to watch television.

The ONLY gripes I have with it are that I wish that it had one more component cable hook-up and one more composite cable hook-up, but it’s fine for what I’m using it for right now.

Panasonic TC-L32U22 32-Inch 1080p LCD HDTV

After trying two other flat screen TVs and studying different models in showrooms and on the the web, my wife and I gave this model a try. My wife can be very sensitive to the intensity of an LCD TV picture and one thing she likes about this TV is that is has great adjustments for contrast, brightness, etc. In particular, the “Cinema” setting tones the brightness down and gives good picture clarity. She can also select a picture size or formatting that makes videos, widescreen or full screen DVDs, etc., all look good. Furthermore, there is no noticeable blurring. Overall the quality of the picture is superb, and it was worth paying a little more for the 1080p. Even TV programs not broadcast in high-def look great. In addition, unlike other TVs, the speakers provide sound of sufficient volume and excellent quality. I also like that it has plenty of inputs (including 3 HDMI, 1 component, and 2 composite inputs). Its ability to interface with SD cards and computers is also neat. And, in my limited experience, Panasonic has excellent customer service, with personnel who, in general, are more knowledgeable than most I have talked with at Samsung in regards to that company’s products. My only complaint is that the only audio output on this TV is digital/optical (for new “home entertainment” systems), which, apparently, is the direction newer LCD TVs this size and up are going. Sometimes I need to use headphones when I am playing something to which my wife does not want to listen. In order to do this I connect my Blu-Ray/VHS/or satellite box output to the input of a little 2 watt amplifier I have and run the headphones off of that, using the amplifier’s volume control, with the TV volume on “mute”. I would like for this TV to have a 1/8″ audio output. In spite of that, in my opinion it is worth 5 stars.

Samsung UN55C8000 55-Inch 1080p 240 Hz 3D LED HDTV

Let me start by saying that I do own this TV, and it is replacing the c7000 model. About a month ago I walked into a local retailer and asked when the 3D sets were coming out, to my surprise they had just received the first shipment of C7000 3D ready sets from Samsung. After spending about a half an hour checking out the TV, and asking a lot of questions I decided to take the plunge and purchase the TV, 3D Blu-Ray player, and starter kit. My intentions were not to buy a new set that day, but it was getting to be time to upgrade anyway so I wanted to have something with some “wow factor” for a while. A friend and I loaded up the set and got the connections made, cracked a couple of beers and checked out my new investment. There were mixed reactions to say the least. Once the novelty of the 3D wears off you can be really critical of that model. Huge amount of “crosstalk” on the picture, and cloudy bright spots with “flashlighting” in the bottom two corners. Very disappointing. I went back to the store to look at the display model again and did not see a fraction of the issues that my set was showing. The salesperson said that the Panasonic Plasma should be coming in any day and they expected it to be light years ahead of the Samsung in picture quality, black level, no crosstalk, etc.

After a week or so I went in to see the Panasonic that was now also on display only to see the same issues with crosstalk in 3D. The 2D experience on the Panasonic was quite good but at the time the only size available was 50″, and I was replacing a 62″ set and really didn’t want to make that drastic of a change. So on bright pictures the Samsung was absolutely stunning! In a dark room while watching a dark movie the picture was just unacceptable for a TV in this price range. At this point I figured that I would return the TV, and wait for one of the larger Panasonic’s to hit the stores.

Then I saw that the C8000 was being released earlier than expected, and had new technology called Pinpoint Dimming. After doing quite a bit of reading reviews, and others’ experience with the Samsung locally dimmed set’s I decided to give Samsung another chance before going to Plasma. Amazon had the TV for sale before my local retailer so I placed the order and crossed my fingers that I would not be returning two new TV’s instead of one. Well let me wrap this up by saying that I am sooooo glad that I made this choice! The C8000 is absolutely stunning in aesthetic quality, and is the best picture quality I have probably ever seen! Dare I say it is even better than the 8500 from last year that gets such great reviews. There is no flashlighting, the black levels are completely pitch black, and as another reviewer already stated, once you get the picture dialed in the way you like it there really is no comparison. Everyone that sees the TV in my house has to stop and watch for a while, in fact, the downside to owning it is that I can’t get people to go home!

Now with that being said, there are some minor observations that would be different in a perfect world. If you put this set in a large room and watch it from a large angle you will lose some of the black levels, and for the price it really should have wifi built in. Also, in the menu’s it seems that some settings should be grouped together under the headings, so you have to jump around in the menu’s a bit to get your set dialed in, but this is typically not something you will be doing all the time. Other than that I really can’t see a problem with it. When considering the C7000 or C8000 do yourself a favor and choose the latter. Even if this set was hundreds of dollars more it would be worth it. This one will be hard to beat.

UPDATE: After having the TV for about a week it started having some technical issues like switching sources randomly, and changing the picture settings for no reason. Samsung tech support was very good and we thought initially the problems were being caused by the Logitech remote I use, however after increased tech issues the TV had to be returned. Being that the picture quality is so exceptional on this set I have already replaced it with another one of the same model purchased at retail (for much less money actually) and am keeping my fingers crossed that this one does not have any technical issues. I am leaving my review at five stars simply because every so often you can get a bum product, or something could have happened during shipping, but have to say that Samsung, and Amazon have been really great about taking care of me on this, and the picture quality really is very good. Reading the other reviews I am surprised that anyone would not give this a five star rating. When replacing my C8000 I checked out one of the last B8500’s still available, and side by side I have to say that not only me, but most people in the store were more impressed with the C8000. By the way, I have owned several products that C-net gave very high ratings that I had no success with, and vice versa, so I really think it comes down to your own expectations on a purchase like this.

LG 37LE5300 37-Inch 1080p 120 Hz LED LCD HDTV

I purchased this HDTV off Amazon about two weeks ago, and I am beyond pleased with it. I replaced a 26″ Vizio 720p LCD with this. The features that really drove me to this TV is the LED backlighting and the 120Hz processing. This TV has a stunning picture quality with some of the deepest blacks and great color. The 120Hz TruMotion has really gotten me though. It makes everything much more realistic, almost to a point to being scary sometimes. Watching Blu-rays with the TruMotion on the highest setting almost takes you out of the movie. It’s beyond cinematic, and it seems like I’m just looking out a window watching the actors in real life. It’s not bad by any means, and in fact, I can’t go back to not having it, but it may be too much for some people. You do have the option to adjust it, and you can even turn it off altogether.

I use this TV currently for the following devices: an Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, Gateway PC, and Comcast Digital HD package. Gaming is great. I’ve noticed everything I’ve played so far has been super smooth and the response time is phenomenal. I’ve tried the following 360 games on it with great results: Halo 3, Need for Speed; Shift, Alan Wake, Modern Warfare 2, and Split/Second. The Wii looks a bit worse on this TV than on the small Vizio, but I imagine it’s the increased screen size. I have the Wii hooked up with component cables and set to 480p widescreen, but playing Super Mario Galaxy 2, The Conduit, No More Heroes 2 looked kind of bad. I know the Wii is not an HD console, but it’s a bit disheartening to see some of the better Wii’s graphics downgraded. Now, with the PS3, I don’t game to much, and I’ve yet to play a game on it with this TV, but as far as the Blu-ray goes, it’s been outstanding. This TV is enough to make me just skip the theater and wait for movies to release on BD. Blu-ray movies have such amazing clarity on this set, and the 3-dimensional feel is incredible. I played The Dark Knight, and the movie is so deep. With this kind of picture, I think I can wait a decade for 3D HDTVs to prove themselves more worth it to me. My Comcast HD looks nice, too. I know it’s not 1080p, but there’s no complaint. The TruMotion is great in the case of sports, and watching Braves baseball is more enjoyable due to it.

I’m loving my TV, and I’d say traditional LCDs should be no more. LED is so much better, and the LGs are priced very reasonably. I can’t believe I got this for $850.

Samsung LN40C630 40-Inch 1080p 120 Hz LCD HDTV (Black)
I have literally been following the prices of HDTV’s for about a year now, and there is no better time for an upgrade! Samsung just released their new “C” series, and somehow they are remarkably less expensive than their pre-existing models! The majority of the websites are selling this HDTV for $800+, Amazon’s lower-than-low price is less than the rest of the market. I purchased it here on Amazon, and received my HDTV in 5 days (could have been 4 days, but I had school all day). CEVA did the shipping for my HDTV, which I was wary at first because I have only dealt with UPS and Fedex. However, CEVA provided excellent customer service as they did contact me and I verbally specified a delivery time. Packaging was very efficient, and surprisingly light too!

For those who prefer using TV stands, you do have to assemble it on your own. Extremely easy to assemble though! All it took was 9 screws (already in the box) and I recommend using a power-screwdriver. Directions said it required two people, I did it solo! I was just eager to hook up my PS3 via HDMI cable and experience the wonderful world of 1080P.

Okay, now for the specifics and why this HDTV deserves a spot in your living room – As I mentioned before, right up to my purchase I extensively followed the quality and price of several HDTVs. The Samsungs 530, 550, 630, 650. The Samsung 630 is the best deal for your money, here’s why: The 5 series is less expensive, but only offers refresh times of 60Hz as compared to the 630 which is 120Hz. This is a big difference, and means that your HDTV with 120Hz displays at least twice as many frames-per-second which makes movies, not only sports, very fluid and more realistic. Another difference is the response time, where as the 5 series has a 6ms response time, the 6 series has a 4ms response time. And if you are a gamer, a difference of 2ms can make a big difference. So why the Samsung 630 and not the 650? The only difference now is the contrast ratio. The 630 comes with a 80,000:1 contrast ratio which in my opinion, still creates an extraordinary depth to the display. TV contrast ratio’s are starting to become stable around the 70,000 – 100,000 range (or much higher for LEDs). Whereas, 3 years ago the highest was around 10,000 but kept constantly rising. So this HDTV is very much future proof. Yes, the 650 has a higher contrast ratio, but is it worth the extra $200 something dollars?

All in all, if you’re not worried about price, go all out and purchase a LED HDTV. But if you want to shop smart, this HDTV is the way to go.

Panasonic VIERA TC-P50G25 50-Inch 1080p Plasma HDTV

This pannasonic G25 is amazing. Clear, Crisp Picture. Colors are amazing, unlike an LCD. You never would know the difference unless you saw a plasma. Unfortunatly plasmas got a bad rap years ago and people shy away from them. This model (as do others including samsung) have built in image retention elimination devices. Follow the break in for the first 100 hours and you have nothing to worry about. The sound levels arent bad, you probably have a surround system anyways so it dont matter. This picture gets better and better as it breaks in. All store demos are pretty crappy and usually the plasmas are off to the side. If stores used a good setup and dialed in the sets its unbelievable how many they would sell, but most people drift to the big bright LCD or LED. This tv is bright and colors are unmatched. Hockey games and fast paced sports are crap on lcd, but on plasma when the hockey players stop, you can see every sliver of ice fly through the air. Plasmas are less money and better picture the an lcd, why buy an lcd? I looked at the samsung, however they have a realllly bad rep for buzzing. Get it, dial in your settings and you too will be blown away.

Samsung LN46C630 46-Inch 1080p 120 Hz LCD HDTV (Black)

The picture on this TV was stunning right out of the box. After a few minor adjustments it was as close to perfect as I could imagine. It came with the SQ01 panel and it would be hard to differentiate the color depth and quality from some of the plasma sets I looked at. The TV is in a very bright room and the matte screen cuts out glare with no picture degradation. The viewing angle is very good, though we are never more than 25 to 30 degrees off center. The picture is very stable from channel to channel with no change in the back lighting that I can see, and the standard definition picture is almost HD quality when using the 16:9 picture format. It has separate settings for processing speed and anti-judder for motion blur when using the Custom view mode, unlike the majority of sets that combine both settings into one. I watch a lot of sports and really don’t notice motion blur at 60hz so its certainly not an issue at 120hz. I’m not a gamer, so for my viewing habits I see no need to spend more for a 240hz option. The sound is very good for normal TV viewing. It can be connected to a home network and I have also hooked it up to my laptop using the VGA connection to watch Netflix and even that produces an acceptable SD picture. There are multiple picture settings you can use to suit just about any programming source, including watching at 120hz without the “soap opera” effect that some people find so annoying. There are 4 HDMI and 2 USB connections, plus one for headphones. There is no S video so you may need cables to hook up older external equipment. UVerse is the programming source.

One thing about settings. The first evening the picture suddenly got much darker and even though I would reset the brightness, it would get dark again once I left the menu. I spoke with Samsung and they had no idea why this was happening. It turns out this set automatically adjusts the picture to your room brightness in the Standard viewing mode, which is the factory default. You can change this in the Eco portion of the picture menu to never go below a certain brightness level or you can turn it off completely. This is not an issue when using any other viewing mode.

The last time I bought a LCD I continued to look around in case I found something better. That will not be the case this time as I am completely satisfied. Pilot shipping through Amazon was great. They delivered on time, set up the TV and swivel stand, and had everything working in 5-10 minutes.

Added note on Warranty: If you purchase an item with your Amazon Visa, or pretty much any credit card from a major bank, it extends the manufacturer’s warranty 100% over the original duration (one year to two, etc.) at no cost. Amazon verified this but check with your bank if you use a non-Amazon card.

Toshiba 55UX600U 55-Inch 1080p 120 Hz LED HDTV with Net TV (Black Gloss)

I was a little leary of buying this because of other reviews on the net, from professional critics. However, none of them hold water. This is a fantastic HDTV, and the extra features with internet access make it perfect (pandora radio, even youtube). The picture is excellent from any angle, multiple inputs allow connections from any source. One thing that isn’t mentioned is that the set will turn itself off after four hours if there’s no input, that is set as a default. It was purchased for my elderly mom, and she loves it. Oh, and it’s only a couple inches thick, and so protrudes from the wall even less than a picture frame!

LG 42LD550 42-Inch 1080p 120 Hz LCD HDTV with Internet Applications

TV is great for the type (LCD) and price. The picture is bright, good contrast, and very smooth. The menu/remote are very comfortable…overall the picture is very nice. Aesthetically, the TV looks great as well…no cheesy features or decorations. This is my first LG product and I’m very pleased with this set. Also added the wireless adapter ($70). The entire setup and interface are very intuitive. This is a kids TV and they had Netflix down in no time (even the 5 year old). My only wish would be a backlit remote control.

Only complaint at all is with shipping. It did not ship on time and there was no communication from the shipping company. Ultimately, I had to contact the shipper to make an appointment (was stated that they would contact me). Once I called them, they drove it over the next day (Saturday). All in all, still very pleased.

LG 55LX6500 55-Inch 3D 1080p 240 Hz LED Plus LCD HDTV with Internet Applications

After reading the first review I thought I needed to put in my 2 cents worth. I bought a package which included the TV, LG580 3D blu-ray player and a couple of pairs of glasses from Vanns since at the time they had the lower price. I have found this TV to be astounding in every way possible. It has a low refeclection screen which was important to me because my room can get very bright. You have to turn on the 240HZ mode which could explain the blur in the first review because I have none. The picture is absolutly beautiful and my old DVD’s played are so clear it’s like watching a soap opera. The sound isn’t bad from the TV but I have it hooked up to a digital receiver that is connected with optical cables so the sound is outstanding. I am streaming movies through the DVD player from Netflix and the picture is incredible. This may be do to the upgrade to HD or the fact that it is done through the DVD player and not the TV. The cables need tyo be upgraded from 3a to 4a or b because of the infomation they need to carry. I bought mine at amazon at abouut $20 per cable and their delivery is flawless. Now I have a 32″ old Old HD tv in the bedroom and the difference is like night and day’ I have had the TV for about a month so this is an early review but I enen enjoyed watching my Patroits lose to the Jets on it! Oh, I forgot to mention the LED part. This TV is about an inch thin so it doesn’t look like the 300 Lb monster I removed from the living room. led I believe makes the picture bright and clear with long life and the since it’s edge lit can shut off areas of the picture to make the blacks look very dark. Almost as good as a plasma.

VIZIO M260MV 26-Inch 1080p LED LCD HDTV with Razor LED Backlighting Black

For $309.99, this tv is an excellent price for a 1080p full HD tv. The picture is great, just needs a little tweaking within its settings, but most tv’s need that adjustment out of the box. The only issue I have is with the sound quality. It sounds like the speakers are inside of a tin can, and they are way too loud. Even on sound level ‘1’, it is very loud. I got the tv as a replacement for the bedroom and it would be nice to be able to keep it low while watching before going to sleep.

Overall picture is good and with the low price, it’s hard to argue. As I stated, the only downfall is the sound quality and volume control.
I would recommend the tv for extra rooms, but not as a households main tv, the sound/volume is below par.

Toshiba 40G300U 40-Inch 1080p 120 Hz LCD HDTV (Black Gloss)

I have ordered and received MANY similar sets in recent months. This Toshiba puts all others, including many 42″ sets to SHAME.
Picture quality is fabulous. Sound quality is fantastic. Best of all are the many HDMI possibilities, composite and AV connections. PC compatible is another plus. Believe it or not, my all time favorite is the remote, which has the buttons in a white color to off set the black back ground. This makes it extremely easy to see exactly what you are doing, especially in darkened room with just your Toshiba on. However I will say that Toshiba should update the remote just a tiny bit. At least I think a button labeled TV/VCR is outdated. Prices do vary so do you home work. My set was originally USD662.00 and just 1 week later USD557.00. Amazon as always came through and refunded my account the difference. BIG PLUS NO INTEREST FOR 24 MONTHS!

Panasonic TC-L42U22 42-Inch 1080p LCD HDTV

I replaced a 6 year old plasma TV that went out. My TV screen faces multiple windows. With the plasma I had to cover the windows with towels during the day to avoid glare. With this TV any glare is barely noticeable and only when the screen is dark. I’m watching it right now (day time) with the windows uncovered.

I live at 5000 feet which caused the plasma to generate a lot of heat. That thing was hot! I could feel the heat radiating from it when I walked by. It did help heat my house in the winter, but probably caused the TV to give up the ghost. This Panasonic generates very little heat and is hardly even warm to the touch.

The only issue is one I discovered after installing this TV and apparently many LCD TV’s have this issue. With the TV powered on my dish network remote would not operate the dish network receiver. After entering the proper code it did operate the TV fine but not the dish network receiver. I had to put the remote withing 2 inches of the dish IR port to get it to function. I had a couple of very frustrating days fighting this thinking it was the dish receiver flaking out. Then I did some research and discovered the interference issue with the LCD TV and various receivers. Different LCD TV’s have different fixes. Some fixes I found are: turn CATS on or off on the TV, turn energy savings on or off or adjust back lighting. On this TV you adjust the back light on the TV. This TV adjust from 1 to 100. I found that adjusting it below 45 the dish remote inconsistently operated the dish receiver. At 42 or lower the dish remote refused to operate the dish receiver at all. I set the TV back light at 78 and the problem was solved. My research showed that this issue is not limited to any one manufacturer and indicates manufactures are aware of the issue. The possible resolutions to this issue should be included in the manual.

I ordered an HDMI cable with this TV, but it was shipped separately and am still waiting on it and am only viewing 480i. Even with an analog signal the picture is much clearer than my old plasma. However, with the analog signal I notice some fuzziness with quick moves on the screen. Most notably when using the dish TV guide. As I move around the guide it turns fuzzy for a fraction of a second, but it immediately clears up and becomes sharp. I suspect this will be resolved once I receive the HDMI cable and boost the resolution to 1080 since it’s a fairly well known fact that an HD TV picture is less than perfect with an analog signal.

I use the dish remote to operate the TV, but I will note that the TV remote buttons are large and well labeled. The exception is the keys labeled R, G, B and Y. They apparently have nothing to do with the RGBY connection. One wonders why they are labeled this way. On page 11 of the manual it notes the colored buttons are used for various functions and refers to pages 14, 18 and 31 for examples. I could find no reference to these buttons on pages 14 or 18. Page 31 simply says that these buttons are available when their purpose is displayed on the screen. I guess I’ll find out what they’re for when I need them. I don’t consider this a negative because it doesn’t concern me. It’s just a little confusing.

So far I am really happy with the TV. This is a good looking TV. The bezel isn’t huge and the speakers are in back which I like. I had it up and running without ever cracking the manual. I look forward to when the HDMI cable arrives. Though I haven’t used all the features I certainly recommend this TV. Just be aware of the IR interference issue and how to resolve it and you will be happy with it.

LG M2762D 27-Inch Widescreen 1080p LCD TV Monitor (Black)

Well I actually wanted just the monitor, model W2357v, and instead of Amazon for $[...], Frys sells it for $[...]. However, when I got there, Frys only had an open box V model left, and they reduced it to $300. I am not one to buy open box electronics, because they are usually someone elses headaches. So instead, I went with the LG M2762D-PF 27″ HDTV. The only difference is the monitor has a slightly faster screen response time than the TV. My Computer is a built buy me, AMD Athalon 6000 2 core processor with liquid quiet cool, Asus motherboard with 8 gig of pc 6700 DDR II, and an NVIDA 8500GT Graphics card, HD. I came home, removed my old relic and connected this LG through the DVI hookup video card to monitor. I turned it on and set the input to DVI and booted the computer to Windows 7 64 Bit. Shazam. Right out of the box it was stunning with no adjustments. The sound is not bad either, so I used a Y cable to tie the LG Monitor sound to my Bose Companion 3 Speakers. I could have left it alone, but you know how we guys are. I set all the monitor settings at 60, because the gamma was a little too bright, and then I went to my NVIDA control panel and made my final adjustments. This product is well worth the money, and I would buy it again. For those that say the text is not clear on this monitor, they must be using inferior video card, or inferior cables. DO NOT BY THIS MONITOR IF YOU DO NOT HAVE A VIDEO CARD THAT SUPPORTS 1920 X 1080 RESOLUTION! It would be an injustice! By the way, one other thing I forgot; on the initial boot, my 8500GT Video Card automatically set the resolution to 1920 x 1080. Text, videos and everything else is sharp and crystal clear on this monitor. Now I know what I’ll get my daughter for Christmas. I highly recommend this machine, for the fact that I bought the first LG 60 inch 1080P Plasma and it is now over 4 years old without a glitch. LG is top notch, and has excellent quality control. They let very few bad ones get away!

Dale in Texas

LG 42LD520 42-Inch 1080p 120 Hz LCD HDTV

I spent close to an hour in the store comparing LCD TVs. This LG stood out with its sharp and bright colors. I used the store’s Internet connection to check out the reviews but since it is a new model there wasn’t many. The older model however was popular among gamers.

The speakers on this TV are hidden on the back and this gives it a neat look. The speakers also sound great. There are different sound options in the menu plus advanced picture controls. In “Intelligent Sensor” mode the TV adjust the brightness and color contrast according to the room lighting conditions. The picture quality is easy to setup using the picture wizard option.

This TV has three HDMI connections in the back to use with your laptop or desktop plus an RGB (VGA Cable). There is also a USB 2.0 port in the back. I connected a USB thumb drive and was able to listen to music and display my digital pictures on the screen.

Over all I am very pleased with quality of this LG model and recommend it to anyone who wants to buy a LCD TV for under $1k, and I mean not for picture quality but the size of the screen since this had as good, if not better, picture quality as other more expensive models in the store.

Toshiba 37E200U 37-Inch 1080p LCD HDTV (Black Gloss)

I just purchased this TV to replace my Samsung 27″ tube HDTV which was an absolute beast (147 lbs!). This TV is WONDERFUL! It’s the 3rd Toshiba LCD in my house (also have a 32″ in my bedroom and a 19″ in the home office). The picture is crystal clear with rich, bright, vibrant colors. I watch a lot of sports and play video games on this TV and it performs great for both. There aren’t noticeable tracers when watching fast action. I wish it had a regular a/v sound output (red & white), but it only offers a digital audio output which doesn’t work w/ my out-dated receiver (not the TV’s fault). I compared this side-by-side to LG’s similarly priced 37″ model and it blew the LG away. The picture was brighter, clearer, and lost less quality at an angle. I’ve noticed some reviews that are critical of the TV’s sound, but I’m not having any issues with it. I’m sure it doesn’t compare to the sound quality of a home theatre system, but it isn’t any worse than any other TV I’ve owned. If you’re looking to get the most bang for your buck on a moderately priced lcd TV, this is the one.

LG 47LD520 47-Inch 1080p 120 Hz LCD HDTV

Picture quality is good, although I had to mess with the color settings a lot (I’m still not sure I’ve got it 100% correct). There is some slight discoloration around the edges, but this is only noticeable when the TV is displaying one solid color.

I can’t stand to have the smoothing option (called TruMotion) turned on. It’s supposed to make TV look better, but I think it makes everything look like a soap opera. Luckily, it’s easy to turn off (Menu>Picture>TruMotion). Note: you’ll have to turn off TruMotion for each individual input. TV will look a little juddery without the smoothing, but it’s a limitation of all 120Hz TVs, and it’s a whole lot better than having TruMotion turned on (in my opinion).

That said, movies and video games look fantastic with the smoothing turned off. My Xbox 360 and PS3 games look great, as do Blu-ray movies.

I maxed out the 3 HDMI ports pretty quickly (Xbox 360, PS3, DVR), but I figure if I need another one, it’d probably be time to get a receiver anyway. It should be noted that there is only one set of component inputs.

Speakers are fine, nothing to write home about but they get the job done.

Remote requires you to point at a pretty specific spot (the lower-right corner of the TV). Kind of annoying, but I got used to it (I sit about 10 feet away).

The swiveling stand is nice (I turn it to face the kitchen when I’m making dinner), but it only turns about 20 degrees.

Overall, I’m very happy with what I got for the price I paid!

Panasonic VIERA TC-P42G25 42-Inch 1080p Plasma HDTV

Although I have been working in the AV industry for many years I have been holding back – seen a lot of feature hype and hoopla go by but this is the first flat screen plasma I liked with a price that was reasonable.
For a couple of years now I have been looking for an HDTV with wide viewing angels – worked well in dark or well lit room without too much reflection – rich accurate color reproduction – Works well with games or sports motion – works well with over the air/cable SD signals or SD DVD play back – ease of use – easy break in – Minimal chance of image retention – Multiple input/outputs – reasonable price.
We have had our 42G25 now for several weeks and have been very pleased with our choice – did have to buy the component cables for our Wii which improved the picture quality fairly well for an SD video game. We also purchased a Panasonic Bluray player with the TV it works nicely with SD or Bluray playback – The TV’s THX certified picture setting is very pleasing and color accurate for movies – I use the Custom setting for over the air and cable TV watching with a few minor adjustment tweaks I got excellent results. Both the TV and player have internet abilities – I have used utube so far works fine. Also I was easily able to updated the firmware for both TV and player. Bought a Mini DVI to HDMI adapter to use my 2 yr. old MacBook computer works fine @ 1920x1080p resolution streaming Hulu etc. There is an RGB port on the TV but only lower resolutions work – since RGB is limited anyway I would use the HDMI port if your computer is 1080p capable. The sound is a little on the tinny side for me but my wife doesn’t seem to mind it personally I usually use the AV amplifier when watching TV or Movies. The TV remote is easy to use and lights up. The BR player remote is also easy use but does not light up not sure I get that – it makes it very awkward to use in the dark. So I just put everything on our Sony universal 2100 remote and the wife was happy controlling all sources with one touch screen remote that lights up.
One last thing – I’m keeping an eye on the alleged “rising black levels” but I have not notice anything yet. I’ll repost if anything comes up. However I do recommend this TV to all it’s a good value, sharp accurate picture and a great product.

UPDATE 11/17/10 I promised to give an update if I noticed any alleged “rising black levels” Well I must have a couple of thousand hours on the set now and have not been able to detect anything significant. The black levels now look the same as the day I purchased the TV. I ran a few simple tests the day I bought the set and just the other day (won’t bore you with details) so far the black level tests when compared are the same. I do expect there will eventually be some minor rise in black levels but this is true of most plasma sets anyway because of phospher life and built in bios adjustments – yawn – yawn etc. etc. — but were talking thousands of hours here and years of viewing time. Yet at the same time if there are any changes I expect them to be very minor not so noticeable by the naked eye when viewing TV or Movie content.

Samsung LN46C650 46-Inch 1080p 120 Hz LCD HDTV (Black)

Purchased the LN46C650 model 3 weeks ago ($1167 thru Amazon) and absolutely love it. I was not sure how much added value the internet TV would provide, but after having it for a few weeks I am very glad I went with this model over the non-internet models. I haven’t tested every feature yet, so this review is based on taking the usual features for a spin.

Delivery: White-glove service was fantastic (on-time, no damage), but then again it would be pretty hard to mess up walking the set 15 feet inside the doorway. Nonetheless, they did great.

PROS:
– Pandora rocks. This is by far my favorite internet feature to stream music through the TV. I don’t have a big stereo system and FM reception is spotty, so this really was a welcome feature.
– The sound is just fine. I know some say the Samsung sound isn’t up to Sony, and that may be true, but how often are you blasting the volume past, say, 20? The room we have it set up in is relatively small (15×20), so it suits us just fine.
– YouTube, Vudo, Yahoo, Associated Press, Weather, and Flickr feeds are pretty cool. You can download movies from Netflix and Blockbuster, but i’m not sure this is any better (cheaper) than most cable services. I guess if you don’t have cable this would be great.
– I have AT&T U-Verse, and the SD picture is great when tuned to non-HD channels. The HD is amazing.
– The Automotion is great, but only for sports in my opinion. We turn it off for regular programming as with HD and Automotion on, the scenes look a little on the cheap side (maybe too real??). It is like you are in the room, which i don’t like. This is probably just a personal preference thing.
– The TV itself looks amazing and the lack of the red-touch-of-color I think is a good thing.
– Controls to tweak the picture seem more than adequate to suit anyone’s preferences, though I’m not a A/V guru.
– AllShare feature lets you access music, photos and videos contained on networked computers through your TV (after downloading/installing samsung software on your PC). This worked flawlessly and setup was intuitive.
– Plug-N-Play media contained on a thumb drive works great too.

CONS: I can’t think of any major ones, but I’ll list a few initial thoughts…
– AnyNet+ seems before its time (you have to have all Samsung devices to use as far as I can tell)

That’s about all I have. If anyone has any questions, I will try to answer. All in all, I have to give this TV a 5. The potential uses for the internet connectivity seems huge.

UPDATE: 4 months in and we still love this TV. No problems whatsoever. There are some new Samsung Apps i thought I’d mention…
– Google Maps App, can get live traffic just like the web version. Hard to get any accident data though.
– Other new apps (but haven’t tried): Napster, Hulu Plus, Facebook, CinemaNow?, DailyMotion?

LG 47LD450 47-Inch 1080p 60 Hz LCD HDTV

I haven’t had this TV very long but so far it is great. I had to replace my panasonic rear projection tv because the lamp keep going out every 4 to 6 months. I thought it was a great tv till I got this one. It was so easy to set up and being I had no help this was a big plus. It is light in weight which I could pick up and put the base on and sit it on the stand. Programming it was a breeze. The manual is on a disc which you have to download on your computer to read. Wasn’t impressed with that. The picture is great and the remote has information on it for what is playing and what will play next, which the panasonic didn’t have. This is a plus for me as do not have cable. Over all I love this tv and right now would recommend it. Hope it last longer than my panasonic.

LG 32LD450 32-Inch 1080p 60 Hz LCD HDTV

After comparison shopping for a LCD set to replace my current Sharp Aquos LC20D42U (also reviewed), I settled on this TV.

I’m not going to write a book – but the following are my initial impressions.

Given that my outgoing Sharp display had only 1 HDMI input, the LG’s 2 inputs are acceptable for my needs (HD cable/DVR & PS3) but for others with more peripherals (stand alone Blu-Ray, DVD, multiple gaming consoles, etc), 2 HDMI inputs may not be enough. The set also has a component input (probably acceptable for use w/ a non-upscaling DVD player).

Unboxing the TV in my living room, I cranked all my lights to check for blemishes / defects. While the TV was in good condition, both the screen and the glossy black bezel had hand/finger prints in multiple locations. I’m not sure if this happened at the factory (made in Mexico) or if I got a unit that had been previously unboxed (manuals, remote, stand were all still in sealed plastic – so I’m guessing factory), but it was a little unsettling, even at this price point. It took me a few extra minutes to wet a cloth and clean the TV before setting it up.

The glossy black bezel is unremarkable – it doesn’t look bad, but it does look (and feel) a little cheap. This is not a TV I would mount or place conspicuously – especially among high quality peripherals, audio equipment or as the anchor of an expensive entertainment center (of course it’s doubtful that a 32″ TV would typically form the center of an expensive piece of furniture like that).

After setting the TV up, I obviously turned it on. I was not immediately impressed. Like most new TV’s, this one is pre-programmed to default to wild backlight / brightness / color settings (with the aim of display sets not washing out under bright store lights, I presume). After spending some time tuning the picture, I was able to achieve settings that were to my liking. The tuned picture is fairly impressive at this price point – solid processing, even backlighting, good black levels for a CCFL-backlit TV, and fairly accurate color although off-angle viewing could be better. Speaking of tuning, the menu / interface is very simple and very easy to use – both because of good menu design and also because there are not a whole lot of features on this set to be configured.

Which brings me to features – this is not among the next generation of LCD TV’s; it has no LED backlight, it is not 120hz, it is not thinner than a strand of hair, it does not connect wirelessly or offer widgets or video streaming, and it is not 3D compatible (a feature I sincerely hope does not catch on for cinema or television – who wants to wear 3D glasses all evening?).

But if you don’t want to spend a lot, don’t need the TV to be a conversation piece while it is turned off, don’t need to the TV to perform functions that your other devices would likely make redundant, and are looking primarily for decent quality picture and good value – then I’d recommend this TV to you.

Full specs can be found at the following location: [...]

VIZIO M260VA 26-Inch Class RazorLED 720p LCD HDTV Black

I bought this Vizio because I needed a decent sized tv that was relatively cheap but would also fit into a dorm room. The picture quality is excellent and the difference between this tv’s 720p and other 1080p is negligible. At first colors looked a little washed out on my 360 but after fiddling with the tv/xbox settings it now looks superb. The size of the tv is also nice…it is lightweight and is super slim. The only thing that could be improved on is the speakers which imo are still a lot better than most tv’s in this price range/size. It sounds a little hollow and could use more bass but overall it isn’t too bad (it helps to turn off srs surround and switch to rock equalizer). Volume also isn’t too big of an issue with this tv like on other tv’s since this has front facing speakers as opposed to rear speakers. There is also very little lag or ghosting at 8ms and 60ghz refresh rates. Highly recommended if you are looking for a tv that is cost efficient and has good picture quality.

ViewSonic VT2430 24-Inch 1080p LCD HDTV

I began my search for an LCD HDTV/Monitor over a month ago and purchased 4 other similar items before purchasing this ViewSonic VT2430 and returned the previous 4 for poor performance. I was actually looking for a unit which included a DVD player for use in training lectures. But, I couldn’t find the right combination so I decided to settle on a unit without the DVD player, since those that are built in are all cheap players. This way, by keeping the TV and the DVD player separate I can always update the player as needed (BlueRay!).

I looked at a LOT of HDTV/Monitors and chose the VT2430 for its native 1920×1080 pixel resolution. This works out perfectly with the 1920x1080i signals coming via my cable. And…the pictures are absolutely stunning! More so than I even expected, even already knowing the quality of Viewsonic monitors. And there are plenty of options for modifying and managing the images from all inputs. One reason for returning a Toshiba unit was that it’s native resolution is 1680×1050 pixels, which, when fed a 1920×1080 pixel signal (HDTV) stretches the image vertically…without any way of correcting the distortion. In fact, the manual states that “image size adjustments are not available with 720i and 1080i signals”! VERY poor planning as most cable signals are either 790i or 1080i.

The PC image obtained with the VT2430 is absolutely awesome. I’m typing this review with this monitor with the resolution set at 1920×1080, a perfect match with my PC. There are at least 10 other resolution settings that work as well – just lower resolution results. Regardless of the resolution sent from my PC, the VT2430 automatically adjusts for the best picture with each setting. Very neat.

The audio was another problem I found with all of the other units I tried. Most of them were either too low in volume or, when the volume was turned up became very distorted. Not so with the VT2430. Plenty of clean sound at all volume settings, including loud enough for filling the rooms where I do my training.

The image I get from my (LG) DVD player, which upgrades to a 1080i output via an HDMI cable, is very good. I also have a BlueRay player which puts out a 1080p signal, which, again, perfectly matches the resolution of the VT2430, for a beautiful picture.

The overall picture of this monitor is far more accurate, clean, and viewable than any of the other monitors I looked at. The dynamic range is very wide, including the darker colors and grays and blacks, not quite up to my 52-in Samsung (Over $2,300!), but closer than any other comparable sized monitor.

Physically, I like the fact that the monitor can be tilted back for watching from higher positions. Also, the flat stand can be quickly removed for transporting in its original box, which I do often when I’m training.

Great monitor. I would recommend it to anyone. I would, however, downgrade its rating by 1/2 point for not having a DVD player. But, that is not what it is! ViewSonic does sell an LCD HDTV/DVD Combo monitor, but it has a lower pixel rate designed more for 720i resolution, which is OK for most uses at this smaller size. But, having been a TV studio tech in charge of adjusting and maintaining studio monitors, I became too picky and always need(!) the best.

Samsung PN50C550 50-Inch 1080p Plasma HDTV (Black)

I’ve had mine for two weeks now and could not be more pleased with my choice. I reviewed LCD, LED and Plasma as I was looking for something in the 46″-50″ range. I had narrowed my options down to the Panny G15 ogr G20 and this set. Frankly, they both had a few reports of problems. The Pannys being the changing black levels that panasonic says is a planned adjustment as the set ages vs. the buzzing that some Samsung Plasma owners seem to get. I decided that the buzzing was a hit or miss and if I got one that did buzz, I would return it and by another at a later date. Sicne the Panny is engineered to adjust it’s black levels and they are clearly not going to fix the issue with a firmware update, I scratched them from the list. This set has the best picture of anything I looked at straight out of the box. After tweaking with some settings I found on the web, It is truly like looking out a picture window into the real world. Acturate, lifelike colors that are not over saturated and look as natural as I’ve ever seen. Sound on this set is much better than many reviewers give it credit for as long as your not expecting 5.1 theater type sound from a tv. Plenty loud, no humming or hissing or problems for my family. There’s plenty of hookups (4 HDMI, PC, Componet and composite for most everyones needs.

I’ve mounted mine on the wall using a mount from monoprice and it’s now it’s like the home theater I always wanted. Great picture from about 10′ viewing distance. For under $1200, I feel like I stole this set. If your looking, make sure you give this one a try.

One last thing is to READ the manual. there are a few tips inside that are priceless. One is that the “pixal orbiter” that prevents burn in requires a certain setting (can’t remember it exactly since I set it up and forgot it). I used the settings in the Most Helpful Post in this forum and then tweaked slightly to the lighting conditions of my room. I’m currently running well below max brightness to help break the set in but it looks great so I doubt I’ll turn it up any once I get a 1000 hours on it.

Samsung PN50C7000 50-Inch 1080p 3D Plasma HDTV (Black)

This TV is absolutely amazing. The picture quality is top notch, and after demoing several models from panasonic, samsung and LG, I decided for the price this TV included everything I could ever want. I’m extremely pleased with my decision.
After purchasing a Samsung LED in december, I was left somewhat unimpressed. My first HDTV was plasma and after owning a few LCDs and one LED I decided to go back to plasma. I mostly compared panasonic and samsung, but also took a brief look at some of LG’s LED TVs. It finally came down to the G25 by Panasonic and this TV, the PN50c7000. Picture quality was the most important to me, so that came first. Both TV’s looked excellent in HD(Source was star trek BD), but after demoing the two several times I felt the PN50c7000 had the edge. I consulted one of my buddies who is an expert on HDTVs(a professional calibrator)and he broke down the pros and cons of each model. I went with the PN50c7000 and could not be happier. The picture quality is fantastic, with rich colors and very deep blacks. The addition of 3D was also a plus to me, but definitely not one of my priorities. Standard definition also looks amazing, and with TV’s these days SD quality can vary drastically from set to set(The G25 was not as great at reproducing SD, one of the deal breakers for me). Finally, the PNc7000 had far more internet capabilities than the G25, which was another added bonus, as well as 3D. Since owning the TV I have tested many sources and it seems to reproduce colors very accurately, and again, has a great contrast.
I would also like to address the issue many have had with this TV, the so called “soap opera effect”. The first generation models of this TV came preloaded with MJC(the newer ones do not), or motion judder canceller, which made movement look “fake” or ghostly when watching from some sources. This is a feature also found of the C8000 series, but for some reason samsung didn’t include an option to turn it off on the C7000. Many returned their sets in anger because of this, but its actually a very easy fix. There are several options, the easiest being the game mode option. Switching the game mode from on to off in the general settings will turn this effect off. Do this for each source and no more MJC. Samsung has also issued a firmware update on their website which can be applied via a USB flash drive that will also fix the issue. The last option, which many tech savvy individuals have done, is switch the TV from a c7000 model to an 8000 model via the service menu, which gives you a menu option to turn MJC off. I can confirm that this works, but do so at your own risk. You can potentially brick your TV if you do something wrong. The first two options are extremely easy and safe to perform. Don’t return your sets because of this and miss out on a seriously impressive TV.
Overall this TV has it all. An extremely impressive PQ, internet capability and 3D are all present on the PNc7000, with a sleek, slim design to top it off. I would recommend this TV to anyone, and while the panasonic G25 is also a very impressive TV, my opinion leans toward Samsung this year.

Update: There is some image retention on this model that many will notice, including myself. Don’t worry, its never permanent. There is a recommended 100 hour break in time with most plasmas, and this is no exception. If the temporary image rentention bothers you, make sure you dial down the contrast and especially brightness. Do this for the first 50-100 hours and image retention should slowly become a non issue. For those who dont want to do this, run the scrolling bar across your screen when image retention occurs and it will do the trick. Note: I recently left my screen on pause for 3 hours(forgot to turn it off!) and of course it left quite a bit of burn in. I ran the scrolling bar for 2 minutes and everything went away. Works like a charm.

Samsung UN55C6500 55-Inch 1080p 120 Hz LED HDTV (Black)

First off, I have had an 40″ Samsung for 3 years and have been very pleased with it. It has a matte screen so that is what I was looking for. I really didn’t want any glare so I actually was looking at LG’s since they are one of few companies that make 50″+ lcds with matte screens. CNET reviewed the LG’s with high marks as well so I was pretty much dead set on an LG.

So I went to Fry’s, Bestbuy, HHgregg, and local TV shop just checking out the products. I definitely liked the pictures of the LG’s. The colors are on par with the Samsungs and the washout from off angles is also better. But I couldn’t get over the simple fact that the Samsungs just looked better. Every store I went to I was like yeah there’s glare, but when the screen is fully lit you don’t really see it, plus you know we all were used to CRT glass screens for years. The LG technically had deeper blacks, but in reality the matte refraction light made the screen seem more grayish and the glossy screens appeared to have deeper blacks due to clarity. Also, the clarity of the images in the Samsungs was noticeably better. Just one of those things you just see and say yeah that’s better. For a final look, I brought my wife for her opinion and she point right to the Samsung as the better picture.

So as a matte finish fan and all the technical abilities of the LG’s I had to go with the Samsung. Beyond the amazing picture the style is so much better. So thin, lighter, and the UN55c6500 has a great thin border, actually charcoal matte, with a nice clear trim. Looks so clean.

I’ve read where some people have said that the picture is so good that it almost looks 3d. I have to agree, playing some video games and bluray, the picture is so good it does almost look 3d.

I also got the wireless dongle (free with purchase) and it works quite easily. No issue thus far.

There definitely are reflections, but glare isn’t really too bad. I also did see the rainbow effect from my ceiling lights, but only if in direct view. The motion plus still makes everything look soap opera, but being able to turn it down helps a lot. Samsung has more settings for this than LG’s.

I am very pleased with this buy.

Samsung LN19C350 19-Inch 720p 60 Hz LCD HDTV (Black)

I had previously purchased a LN32A450C for the den and had been quite pleased with it. The presence of a QAM tuner. which allows watching digital and HD versions of the over-the-air channels the cable company provides with their basic package, was a key feature. We bought the LN19C350 for our kitchen to replace a 1960s era Sony that perhaps had seen better days. We are quite satisfied with both, so far.

LG 37LD450 37-Inch 1080p 60 Hz LCD HDTV

This model replaces LG’s mid-range offerings from the past two years which are currently being sold or cleared out at the various retailers. I did a lot of research between brands and models, and am convinced that this is currently the best combination of price/performance/features. Sale prices are more than $100 less than the older models, too.

Size: 37″ TVs aren’t as commonly stocked in stores, but I think it’s a great size with a bigger picture than 32″ without many more $$$. 40″ or 42″ were just too big for me to use and usually entailed a significant price jump.

Picture: The picture is fantastic, and the Picture Wizard tutorial helps get the colors set to something pleasing in short order. Viewing at an angle is superb, and was a differentiating factor from the Sony EX series. The Sonys washed out considerably with only a small change in viewing angle. I was tempted by LEDs but found the reflectiveness of their screens too distracting. I also looked into the 120 Hz models but, in my humble opinion, found them to be much ado about nothing. I like to watch action sports and have found everything to be crystal clear at 60 Hz. Side by side in the store I found the LG and comparable Samsung to be nearly identical.

Sound: I was prepared for the worst after reading scores of reviews saying that the sound out of this grade of speakers was terrible. I’ve been delighted with the output and the “surround” enhancement was good enough to be disconcerting (only because I wasn’t expecting it). There are 5 sound modes in addition to custom; I haven’t reached an opinion yet about these being a positive or negative. I see no need to get external speakers at this point.

[as an aside, I found one station for which the sound was out of sync with the picture. I'm connected via HDMI to a FiOS HD box. I'm not enough of a techie to know the cause for this, but all the stations that are my regulars are fine. It was PetHD that was out of sync.]

Features: There are ample inputs, including USB, but to date I’ve only used the HDMI. Unless you are looking for cutting edge Internet connectivity and are willing to pay for it, this has everything you need. I personally don’t see the world of TV moving to 3D anytime soon, if at all, and certainly the current offerings aren’t ready for prime time. For a 60 Hz, 1080p LCD TV there wasn’t anything better that I found (that was worth the extra money).

Bottom Line: Great picture, great price. I was surprised that I got mine at Sears (of all places) for a price that blew everyone else away. I usually order from amazon with Prime shipping, but until last week their price wasn’t competitive. My research told me that the prices on all these sets are in constant flux and the best price this week won’t be at the same place next week.

Samsung LN32C350 32-Inch 720p 60 Hz LCD HDTV (Black)

Picture Quality Performance: With 480i images we noted some jerky motion artifacts in the background of some scenes. However, I did not see much offensive negatives in the foreground and was very pleased with the detail offered in 480i. The processors did a very nice job. Color rendition was not oversaturated, if not sometimes a little muted.

With our Blu Ray set to 720p resolution to match the TVs resolution we were very impressed at the bright sharp images and intense color offered. The TV really has a lot of pop with HD material. We also did not note the negative background judder with HD material and this proved out with our HD HQV processor testing as well. Black levels were deep and occasionally oversaturated but not often enough to really be a strike against. Dark shadow detail was totally acceptable for a TV of this size and price range.

Off center viewing was average on this LCD TV with the contrast and black levels fading at around 35 degrees off angle – again not bad for this price range.

Calibration: Calibration through the menu was easy and the C350 did a nice job calibrating to near D6500K. There are advanced white balance controls included on this TV which is unusual for this price point. There are also many more advanced settings than I would have thought such as Black Tone, Dynamic Contrast, a Gamma setting, and a nifty Flesh Tone setting that will take the onscreen flesh tones from a yellowish to a pinkish appearance at your whim without changing the overall color appearance of the picture much.

Picture settings as calibrated from the Custom Setting:

Backlight: 8
Contrast: 92
Brightness: 46
Sharpness: 10
Color: 53
Tint: Unchanged
Black Tone: Dark
Dynamic Contrast: Low
Gamma: +1
Color Space: Native
White Balance-
Rgain: 27
Roffset: 24
Flesh Tone: +1
Edge Enhancement: Off

As far as aesthetic considerations go, the LN32C350 has straightforward design and better than the other 32″ models on the market except the LG’s. You almost cant believe how light the TV is upon lifting it, a scant 15.7 pounds. The TV is 3.25″ in depth and 8″ with the stand. The included table stand is very light and inexpensive and the TV must be turned on its head and the table stand screwed on upside down to accomplish the assembly. It would be more convenient if Samsung would just include the stand already assembled on the TV, same as some other manufacturers. The table top stand does not swivel side to side. The 2″ bezel framing of the TV is gloss black and non-spectacular but does contain a sloped design element at the bottom.

Audio Output: The two inbuilt 5 watt speakers barely get the job done. From 10 feet the user will need to keep the volume control at 75% of total capacity. The volume quality also is lacking with a tinny character and no base – but that’s about all you can expect from 5 watt speakers.

For more plus the overall ratings see LCD TV Buying Guide.

LG INFINIA 55LE8500 55-Inch 1080p 240 Hz Full LED Slim LCD HDTV

First, I just received my second set from Amazon today. The first set had an issue on the inside of the GLOSSY glass screen. I couldn’t tell if it was a thread or a small crack in the screen. It obviously wasn’t supposed to be there, and Amazon swapped it out for me. I’m on my first couple hours on the second set, but I haven’t see the same issue with the second set yet. This does support a couple other reviewers suggesting quality control may be an issue with these sets. This contradicts the weight of the TV suggesting it should be very well built.

The TV is stunningly simple to look at. There isn’t a lot of extra bezel or showy manufacturer’s name plates. I love this, as I’m usually driven nuts at having to look at a constant advertisment of a product I’ve already purchased. The “LG” that lights up at the bottom when the TV is turned on, can be set to be off when the set is on. This effectively means in a dark room (as mine is), the ONLY thing you see on this TV is the picture…exactly as it should be. The only exception is a small set of lights along the bottom that are only powered during power on and off to inform the viewer of this.

My general impression on the picture quality is mostly very impressed. I’m not a display expert so I’ll only state what I notice as a slightly more “techy” than average viewer. These sets do seem to have a screen uniformity issue. Large and bright, white or very light colored sections of the screen will show light horizontal bands. These bands are light, but can be distracting depending on the viewer. It seemed to get better with more hours on the first set, but it could have been the firmware issue. Either way, know that if you watch a lot of content containing mostly white screens, you may want to look at another TV. Some people claim to not be able to see this. Others state they see even more of it during panning scenes. Perhaps there is some difference from one panel to the next. Either way, I have seen it on two sets, so anyone looking at purchasing the set should expect it, unless there is an update (software or hardware) to the set at some time.

I looked at a backlit/local dimmed set like this for one big reason though…CONTRAST. Buying this set to watch solid bright screens would seem to be a waste. Where this particular set really shows it stuff is in the black level it can achieve. Movies are beautiful. I thought my old RPTV had a nice picture, but the sharpness and clarity of the 55LE8500 really put my old set to shame. As mentioned above, when you turn off the LG logo, all you see is the picture. Even if there is letterboxing, you will only see the picture. The rest of the screen will be as black as the bezel, and in a dark room, you won’t notice it as letterboxing at all.

Colors are vivid and natural looking. The settings from the factory are pretty decent, but count on using the two extra ISF settings that can be customized to your liking. Having a knowledgable Tech to come over to properly set up the TV would be wise if you can afford it, but it’s not neccesary to achieve a nice picture. There is even a built-in menu system to aid you in doing so.

Summing it up
Pros:
Awesome blacklevel
Sharp picture
Great colors
No flashy labels or lights to be bothersome
Automatic updates if you connect it to the internet
Tons of access to change viewing settings
discrete codes for most anything you might want for a customized remote.

Cons:
screen has uniformity issues
possible quality control issues
maybe a bit too heavy
screen is a bit too glossy
no 3D support

Overall, this is probably the best 2D TV released in 2010. If you can control the lighting in your room, and you don’t watch lots of source material with large patches of very light scenes, this is the TV for you. Amazon is a great source for the set, but know the wireless media kit was offered free with the set last week, and the price has been changing dramatically (down and up and back down again). I gave it 4 stars because it could have been a bit better, and probably should have been.

LG Infinia 60PK950 60-inch 1080p Plasma HDTV

I received my 60pk950 about a week ago and absolutely love it. This was my first HDTV purchase and I spents months researching different brands and models. I was originally set on buying a Panasonic, but the refusal to own up to the rising blacks and floating blacks steered me away. Why give money to a company that won’t admit to issues with their products? I bought an LG BD390 after reading stellar reviews on the blu-ray player and that led me to considering one of their televisions. I joined the AVS forums and spents months reading threads and posts on most brands and models available. My concensus is that the LG owners had the least amount of issues. Samsungs frequently buzz and the Panasonics have black issues. LG seems to be the underdog, so they are really out to impress their customers.

As for the TV, I love the picture and blu-ray discs look fantastic. I imagine that they look just as solid on the 60PK550, but I wanted the bells and whistles that the 950 offered. Also, the Trublack filter DOES make a difference. Here’s the deal, glass reflects so you will never have a TV that has no reflection at all, but the filter greatly diminished that issue. Very happy with that. I had thought about getting an LED, but since I pretty much only watch films, the “soap opera” look to LED/LCD drove me nuts. If you prefer the cinematic look, plasma is really the only way to go. I can understand why people like LED, but it wasn’t for me.

I am not a video expect, but to me, the picture looks great. I can stream Netflix with no problem using the wifi dongle (included) and the widgets are moderately cool. They are nothing to get excited about, but I’m sure more will be added over time. Blu-rays look stunning. I can’t stress that enough. This TV is 60″ and I can sit 5 feet away and not notice any breakup at all. Smooth as day. I also have an Xbox 360 hooked up and haven’t noticed any lag issues at all. Buy this TV. If you don’t need the Trublack filter, Netcast or widgets, the 550 should suit you fine.

VIZIO M470NV 47-Inch 1080p LED LCD HDTV with VIZIO Internet Application Black

We’ve had this Vizio 47 inch TV for just over a month now, and the family loves it. Setup took maybe 5 minutes, using HDMI hookups for incoming Digital cable, DVD, X-box 360, and Playstation 3. Took an extra 5 minutes to hard-wire the internet cable, and connect optical audio output to the Home Theatre system.

Picture quality is excellent, with the very high contrast ratio….Black is really black, unlike on my 1-year old Sony Bravia
2 Million:1 vs 30K:1 contrast ratios). Didn’t really need to do much to optimize the picture quality. Blue-Ray movies played off the PS3 look awesome. Also found it was easy to adjust the lip-sync for TV sound to make it match the surround sound system.
I don’t know if the LED lighting is what improves the picture quality or not, but it looks great.

The remote is easy to use, but seems to have a flaw, continually telling me that the batteries are almost dead, when they are hours fresh. Fortunately, everything still works just fine.

Only reason this review is not 5 stars is the limited choices on internet services. Would be nice to be able to have a browser for full internet access. However, Netflix, the main service we use works great. Have watched a bunch of movies, and the quality is almost always excellent, much better than we used to get using the Netflix app on the XBox 360.

I would recommend this TV to anyone looking for a good quality, affordable TV. I can’t imagine what more one could get by doubling the cost, as many brands do.

LG 50PJ350 50-Inch 720p Plasma HDTV

Ordered this on Monday, and it had an estimated delivery of next Monday, but it arrived in 2 days which was a very pleasant surprise. I must commend the shipping company, Pilot, on their courteousness and efficiency. 2 guys brought this tv in, unboxed it for me, and attached the stand upon my request. They asked a couple times if I needed help hooking up all my devices, but I knew what I was doing so I politely declined. Good job Pilot!

I have yet to do any in depth calibration, but as soon as I got that sucker plugged in I had my xbox connected through HDMI and set the TV on game mode. Picture was amazing right off the bat and there was zero lag on CoD MW2 which is a huge plus for me. Everything looked very crisp and smooth and with 50″ I could actually see many details on the other side of the map without a problem.

Once I finished that I switched to Movie mode and put in a Blu Ray of District 9. Wow. I upgraded from a 32″ 60hz LCD, and once I saw the video on this new TV my jaw dropped. I was halfway tempted to get a 1080p version of a 50″ plasma, but at an extra $300-$400 it was not worth it. I set up my parents 1080p TV right next to mine and from about 8 feet away you cannot tell which is 1080 or 720. Very happy I made the decision of 720p, but any larger than 50″ 1080p would be worth it.

This TV is also incredibly thin, at a inch or so around the edges then gets slightly thicker to 1.5 or 2 in the middle. It definitely looks like a $1000+ television, but at $702 this was a steal.

Very happy customer!

Panasonic TC-P58S2 58-Inch 1080p Plasma HDTV

I have had three panasonic plasmas in my life. Two 50’s and now this 58. I had been so happy with the 50″ panasonics. Great color, smooth motion, and excellent clarity. I then wanted to move up to a 58″. I should have listened to my instincts and stick with panasonic, but instead I bought a Samsung 58″ on a killer sale thinking I would be happy with it. WRONG! It emitted the most annoying buzzing noise ever and the color (even after calibration) was just average. After going through the return process and getting rid of the dreaded Samsung, I resorted back to the old favorite….Panasonic. I bought this Plasma and have not regretted it. The color is wonderful (after calibration and break in) and I have enjoyed movies and tv so much more with the bigger screen. Truly a great tv and a steal at the price Amazon offers it for. Shipping is free too!!!! If you are in the market for a 58″ plasma, this is it!

Samsung PN50C8000 50-Inch 1080p 3D Plasma HDTV (Black)

I love this TV. It has great black levels without losing details. Seriously the blacks get as dark as the bezel in a darkened room. Great color accuracy. Handles motion like a champ even converting 2D to 3D. Menus are very responsive and even the widgets are snappy. Samsung Apps/Netflix works great too. I am really having fun with the 2D to 3D conversion watching sports and playing video games. I watched Avatar the other night, and even though it wasn’t released on 3D Blu ray, the built in converter made it look great. I was nervous about Burn In/ Image Retention, but so far watching 2.39:1 movies hasn’t caused any issues that don’t take care of themselves switching video sources. I need to say that there is a buzz sound, but its pretty quiet. Can’t hear it at all with any audible tv volume. My only major beef with this set is the Audio Return Channel and Optical Out only send 2 channel (stereo) audio unless its source is broadcast. So, my PS3 and cable box will only play dolby directly through my receiver – which in my opinion makes ARC pointless. I hope they change that in an upcoming firmware patch. This TV replaced a UN55B8000 because I was unhappy with its blacks losing details,motion blur, flashlight effect, and sluggish menus and widgets. I experience none of these problems with this new set. I couldn’t be happier.

Samsung UN40C7000 40-Inch 1080p 240 Hz 3D LED HDTV (Black)

I have delayed upgrading to HDTV for quite a while waiting for better technology and lower prices. I decided to try the Samsung 40 inch LED HDTV capable of 3D after watching a number of different sets from a number of different manufacturers. I specifically avoided the Plasma type TVs due to the large amount of Radio Frequency Interference that they generate. The Samsung TV has a beautiful bright Clear color picture and meets all of my expectations!! On black and white shows, the picture is almost too good as it is very crisp! On 3D movies, using the required 3D glasses, the picture is just plain astounding!!!!! It feels like you are in the middle of the action. For the price, the 40 inch Samsung is highly recommended as a BEST BUY by me!!! If you want to watch 3D blu-ray movies, you must purchase the 3D specific Blu-Ray player from Samsung, as well as the Samsung 3D glasses. Not inexpensive,but well worth the money!! I LOVE Mine!

VIZIO M221NV 22-Inch Full HD 1080P LED LCD TV with VIA Internet Application Black

I was looking for a secondary monitor to use with my HTPC to use at the breakfast table when I didn’t want to turn on the big plasma, and thought this might be interesting because it’s LED backlit (edgelit really) and had Netflix and some other widgets.

It turns out to be really cool… good picture quality – not as much contrast ratio as a much pricier, larger TV obviously, but decent for casual TV watching, good colors and viewing angles. The Netflix support works really well, streamed HD over the wireless without any issues, apparently the same quality as my Roku HD box – that alone is worth buying it for.

Some of the widgets are pretty useless (I’m looking at you, CBS), they’re basically just ad channels, and I haven’t found news that’s more than two lines long. It would be nice if there were a web browser for it, or a dedicated NY Times app.

The sound quality isn’t bad for a TV… you’d get better sound adding some cheap computer speakers with a subwoofer, but I don’t really blame the TV, it’s so skinny there’s not really room for decent speakers.

All in all, quite a nice toy, great for a dorm or kitchen.

LG 26LE5300 26-Inch 720p 60Hz LED LCD HDTV

First and foremost – I’ve owned this tv for about two weeks now. Bought it with Amazon Prime to get free 2 day shipping (totally worth it) and my only qualm was it arrived at like 8pm the day it was supposed to come. Meh, two days is two days, no biggie.

This is a great tv, the colors are deep, the backlight is strong and the overall design is absolutely breathtaking, its barely thicker than my phone! The number of ports on the back is astonishing as well, although I have no intention of ever wall mounting it, having ports facing outward on the back may be a point of hesitation for anyone with that in mind. The size and relatively small bezel means it fits well in any medium sized room and in a small room like mine it looks perfect. I read the top negative feedback and I was quite apprehensive about buying this tv if the connection to a computer looked like crap but I am so happy to report that that’s not the case at all. If anything with a little fiddling in the settings (should be the first thing you do with any electronics purchase) the great sharpness and color quality of the tv when connected to my laptop blew me away. This tv is now my default monitor for my laptop, which, besides my PS3 (which looks brilliant on it btw, ridiculous black levels make this a dream to play on) is probably what the majority of its use will be as I watch a ton of movies on my computer. As a matter of fact I was so blown away by this tv I impulse bought a 2 tb harddrive to download new movies and shows onto just so I could watch them on this sexy beast of a mid-sized tv. Speaking of which, the USB function of this tv is pretty alright too if you don’t have a computer monitor cable to connect to it or any other mode of watching downloaded media. It doesn’t read every format but for the easy stuff and whatnot it picks them up and plays them quite painlessly and considering all the other ports there’s really no video file you can’t, with a little bit of thinking and proper cabling, figure out how to play on this tv, whether through its inbuilt usb, a flash drive on a ps3, a laptop with a monitor cable hooked up, as far as I’ve seen the sheer number of options you have means the possibilities are plentiful. Highly recommended for anything you don’t need a 42+ incher for.

Did I mention it was less than $400? Why haven’t you bought this yet?!

Sharp AQUOS LC60E88UN 60-Inch 1080p X-Gen Panel TV Black

I have spent over a year debating which tv to get. It all started with a very long conversation with a friend discussing Plasma, LED, LCD, LED-LCD, HZ, ratio contrast, and all the other important numbers when looking at a TV.

First off, if you’re looking for a TV with a million bells and whistles… this isn’t your TV. If you can’t live without 3D ( complete waste of money ), don’t get this TV. It will support non-true 3D but still stupid if you ask me. You can only watch Monsters vs Aliens so many times and there are so many times when watching 3D ( I sat there for like an hour ) that your eyes cross over and those glasses are annoying and expensive and you won’t have one for all your friends when they come over blah blah blah. 3D… wait for it to get better. Then waste your money.

Now, if you’re looking for a TV that outshines every other TV where it matters… the picture… then get this TV.

Let’s be honest, in the applicable world of TV watching, we are either watching HD cable or DVD’s that are not blu ray, cuz we’ve probably procured quite a few movies that we love but are not Blu-Ray. Net-Flix does offer blu ray discs, and even Red-Box does blu ray. But for the most part we’re gonna be watching the normal stuff. And the normal stuff on this tv becomes unbelievably amazing.
°
If you’re a gamer… and you like being able to clearly see what’s going as you turn 360 degrees quickly, this is the TV for you. The refresh rate allows quick movement without judder. 60″ of crystal clear movement will blow you away.

The picture quality is outstanding. The colors are clear and detailed, the blacks are deep and don’t shade off when sitting directly next to bright colors. I read another review that the angle changes the quality… ummm I don’t think so. I checked it out from every angle and it is flawless. Motion blur, by far the most annoying thing on a TV simply does not happen. The 240hz is like a miracle worker! That’s the point right? I mean the high refresh rate just takes it away, no need for some fancy name like Natural Digital Motion, or all the names Samsung and Sony gives it, this TV simply does it all the time.

Some people have referred to this 3D effect that occurs when using the full 240hz 1080p. I own Planet Earth on Blu-Ray and what the heck? Can a TV look any more real? Get this, I was sitting there watching it with some friends, and there was a long swooping camera scene where the camera was coming at a cliff side and it dropped off and over the edge and we all shouted because we thought we were gonna fall off. Yes, there is a 3D effect and it is insanely amazing.

If you’re wondering about the LED-LCD version of this tv… it is very good too, but the over all picture just isn’t as good as this tv. I would recommend this TV a hundred times over.

60 inches… 240hz… 1080p… under 2k… Unequaled picture quality… yes. Go get this TV.

Samsung PN58C8000 58-Inch 1080p 3D Plasma HDTV (Black)

I had the c8000 55″ LED for over 3 weeks and loved the bright and clear picture, but it was hard to get the settings right for normal viewing, the viewing angle was atrocious vs. even LCD screens, and parts of the screen in dark scenes still have some clouding. I sent the LED back and purchased the c8000 58″ plasma. I’m very happy with it so far, especially after tweaking the settings. Now, I have all the pop of the LED but with consistent colors, better blacks and unlimited viewing angle. The details. . . .

Pros

Great uniform picture – great price the $ vs. LED. Easy to self-calibrate vs. the LED Samsung.

Remote is very nice compared to the bluray remote (same as the c8000 LED remote), but I’m using a Harmony 900 for all my components so it isn’t used.

You can turn off the motion judder canceller and ditch the soap opera effect when watching movies. Cinema Smooth makes high-end movies look great.

Bright screen compared to plasmas I’ve had.

Real 3D content (Monsters v. Aliens) looks great (even with a 1.3 highspeed HDMI cable — however, 2D to 3D conversion of regular programs gives only nice depth – not pop out 3d.

Very thin TV – fairly lightweight for a plasma – nice stand (stainless) and bezel (dark gray), but not as cool in my opinion as the LED version which has a stainless bezel.

Netflix app works through both through the TV and the bluray and surprisingly has good pic quality – not bluray like, but close to DVD quality with no glitches (assuming you have a fast internet connection).

Much less screen glare than the c8000 LED. This TV does not have a matte screen like many other LCD HDTVs, but Real Black Filter kills the glare much better than the c7000 plasma I saw at BB. Note that the c8000 LED has an incredibly shiny screen, making it difficult to watch in a bright room.

Like all plasmas, the screen looks the same despite your seating position in the room. The c8000 LED has a good picture when straight on – but move a few feel off center and the picture would fade substantially. No such problems here.

Cons

TV isn’t wifi – need a $80 adapter or have to hardwire it – TV firmware didn’t update through the adapter – had to update on Samsung site with USB.

Overall a top notch TV that is larger than the LED, has a better and more uniform picture, lower glare, better off angle viewing and is cheaper. What is not to like? Here are my settings after having the TV a month. If you have a bright room or if you like the “pop” of the LED, these settings will blow you away. If you have a dark basement or watch only at night, dial the CellLight back to 10 or so and maybe put the color on normal vs. cool and you’ll be set:

CAL-DAY Mode, Cell Light 20, Brightness 50, Color 50, tint 50/50, Sharpness 40, cool, native, MJC off, Filmmode 1, black (darker), dynamic contrast (med), gamma 2, other settings on auto. Cinema Smooth to “on” but it only works on bluray 24p input.

Panasonic TC-P42S2 42-Inch 1080p Plasma HDTV

I’ve owned this for 3 days now, and wanted to wait until I fully tested it to write a review. After seeing how it performs with videogames, blu-ray movies and basic cable, I feel I know the television enough to offer my thoughts.

Picture quality: Incredible. Blacks are as deep as the bezel surrounding the TV. Colors are bold – everything you’d expect from a top of the line plasma. I own a 62″ DLP, a 26″ LCD, a 50″ panasonic 720p plasma and this plasma, and the plasmas are the only sets that really “pop.” This model is head and shoulders above even the 50″ 3-year-old model I own.

Video game play: There’s a game mode, which bumps up the brightness and sharpness. It’s great for PS3 games. I’ve played Demon’s Souls and Wolfenstein on it so far, and both look amazing. The system touts “1080 lines of moving picture resolution” to help with motion blur. Honestly, I never felt plasmas had an issue with motion blur to begin with, so I’m not sure how much of a difference this feature is making, but from what I understand in doing research it helps to have it.

Cable: HD looks good – even the reds aren’t blown out. Basic cable is standard definition – a thing on it’s way out anyway, lol.

Aesthetics/connections: The TV is very sharp looking, and the anti-glare feature on the S model (as opposed to the U model) actually makes a difference. I rolled my eyes when I read the feature, but I’m watching it in the daytime in a well-lit room and the glare is really minimal. The only minor dissapointment is no VGA connection, but I’ll figure out a way around that. Was going to use VGA to hook up my 360 (since I’m using computer speakers for audio at the moment), but will go the component route now. By the way, a TON of controls and an HDMI input are on the side of the tv, making it very easy to get to.

Burn-in/image retention/ghosting: Haven’t experienced any signs of even ghosting yet. Had my game on pause for a few minutes a couple times to test it.

Audio: Haven’t tested the TV’s speakers, just using an external set of logitech speakers with subwoofer at the moment.

Overall: For the price, I highly recommend the set. Like I said, I own 4 televisions of 3 different technologies and this one shows off the best picture. I have a collection of almost 800 blu-rays, and stay up to date on all the high-def news, etc… I do extensive research before purchasing a product, and actually went into this thinking I was going to give in and get an LED. I don’t want to get into an LED vs. Plasma thing here, but the LED’s are simply LCD with different lighting, and it brings all the inherent LCD problems with it. They make catch your eye in the store, but once you get home and get into your environment, it’s a different story. That said, this plasma in game mode gets the picture as close to LED as I’ve seen but with much better blacks.

Update 5/2/10: Just thought I’d add to this that I’ve had a videogame on pause for more than an hour a few times, and while I wouldn’t make a habit out of it, there hasn’t even been a hint of ghosting and certainly no issue with burn-in. Even so, the TV seems to have an auto shut-off function after 5 minutes or so of complete inactivity. There will be a message prompting you that it will shut off in 3 minutes and it counts down from there.

Panasonic TC-P65S2 65-Inch 1080p Plasma HDTV

We got the TV a week ago, did the 100 hour burn in using software available for free online. Then, a day spent calibrating it to our taste and when all that was done, we had a spectacular picture, especially sing our BR player. We have owned a Panasonic Plasma for four years now, no burned out pixels, no quality issues at all, hopefully this one will be equally as reliable.

For those that want to use this with your PC, understand that this is a next generation TV and isn’t going to interface to a normal video card. If your PC is current, it may well have an HDMI port on it and then this TV will work just fine. Or, if your Blu-Ray player is Internet ready, you will be able to download movies to it and watch them on the TV.

The sound quality from the TV is marginal at best, I’m not even sure why they put speakers in the set. I can’t imagine anyone buying a set this size and not using a home theater setup with it. When played through our Onkyo system, who cares about the TV speakers.

If you’re like me, you’ve probably researched LCD, LED, HDLP and Plasma and in sets this size, the transitional capability is much better than the other technologies in my opinion. No matter the level of the set, every LCD/LED set I previewed had momentary blurring in fast action scenes like sports. I get none of that on the plasma set. Although our media room allows for the proper viewing angle from every seat, you can get well outside the ideal range and the plasma picture is still accurate and bright.

There is some glare off the screen in bright light but again, in a dedicated media room application, it’s not an issue. The price of this set has been dropping pretty steadily so it’s quite a bargain at under $2K. Do check it very carefully when delivered, including using a flashlight at an oblique angle on the screen to detect any hairline cracks. It wasn’t a problem with mine but have heard of screen being broken in transit and hard to detect small cracks in normal light.

I think Panasonic owns the plasma field and this is a another step up in what they offer.

LG 47LX6500 47-Inch 3D 1080p 240 Hz LED Plus LCD HDTV with Internet Applications

I purchased the 47LX6500 bundled with the BX580 Blue-Ray 3D DVD player and 4 pairs of the LG 3D active shutter glasses. The 2D picture display was great right out of the box. You can cutomize the display but I went back to the standard settings. The first 3D viewing was not that great. I subscribe to Comcast and there is a limited amount of 3D content On Demand. These are olded 3D formats and there is significant ghosting. The only 3D Blue-Ray DVD I could get my hands on is Monster House. The 3D was much better but there was fast action blurring. I don’t believe Monster House was created in 3D just upgraded. We watched the ESPN 3D broadcast of the Ohio State game and the 3D was tremendous! I’ve said all that just to say that the 3D experiance depends on the quality and format of what your watching. The TV can definantly display it. My only complaint is there are no standand RCA type output jacks for audio to connect to my stero system. It does of course have home theater digital output. I’m glad I’ve waited on the purchase of an HDTV and that this is the package I’ve got.

Panasonic TC-P42C2 42-Inch 720p Plasma HDTV

I’ve wanted an HDTV for a long time. When Flat Screen HDTVs were just starting to become more mainstream, I was, unfortunately, a newly graduated IT Student…and dead broke. After moving to the East Coast and back again, and owning two beautiful JVC CRT sets (a 27 inch and a 32 inch), I finally, finally, FINALLY managed to amass the capital needed to go flat and hi-def for real (thanks in part to a decent paying job and putting off buying a car when mine died for an entire year). Was it worth the wait all these years? Oh yeah!

First of all, after a lot of thought and effort, I decided to go plasma instead of LCD for several reasons. First, you can buy a 42-inch plasma for about the price of a 32 inch LCD (give or take). Second, the stuttering of LCDs is noticeable and unpleasant to me, and plasmas handle motion with greater fluidity. Thirdly, the black levels of plasmas are better (though they do require lower light to look their best, which is no problem as I’m a low-light kind of guy who lives in the dark overcast Northern West Coast).

I had initially tried to buy a Samsung from Amazon using their slightly-used-like-new Amazon Warehouse, but after more than a week the TV was delivered shattered. I returned it, sending an email to Amazon requesting they simply replace it rather than give me a refund…and my email was ignored. I was given a refund instead of the TV I had ordered. Starting to lose my patience, a friend from work helped me get a great store deal for this beauty. $450.00 with no tax (no sales tax in my state). Nice.

When I took my TV home and unpacked it one of the first things I noticed is the fact that not only would it not fit in my parents’ TV cabinet in the living room, but it wouldn’t fit in my room either. I had to completely re-arrange my furniture to make room. When I first hooked it up to my ridiculous home setup (Xbox 360, PlayStation 2, Dreamcast, Saturn, VCR, Sega Genesis, Sega CD, Computer) I was slightly disappointed to find that it only has two HDMI Inputs (if I buy a PS3 I may have to buy an HDMI switchbox). On the other hand, I was pleasantly surprised to find that you can hook analog sound input into the component in, and it will play through the TV while using the corresponding HDMI (you don’t have to have an audio signal on the HDMI so you can use your computer’s analog out and a DVI to HDMI adapter for PC output). The only real downside to this is that the edges of the PC video in are cropped. Oh well, it beats analog video input any day.

The picture on this TV is absolutely outstanding, but you will want to adjust it to your liking in all probability. First of all, by default, like the iPod Touch, the screen dims with the ambient lighting. What this means is that when you have the room nice and dark as you should for optimal viewing, the screen will be so dark you can’t see it. You will have to go into the menus and turn off C.A.T.S. if like me you can do without that “feature”.

Some people like to adjust the color temperature or fidelity to make the picture warmer, but personally I like white to look white, not pink. And while the cinema mode certainly is bright it makes image artifacting and pixelation stand out, so I prefer to leave colors and brightness on the standard settings.

Personally, I like my image to appear softer as opposed to pixelated, so I set both MPEG and standard noise reduction to on, and set my Xbox 360 (which I use as a DVD player) to output 1080p signal. This results in the image being up-sampled and then down-sampled, smoothing edges and making DVDs have a more “film-like” appearance.

With those settings changed, this display went from good to absolutely amazing. The richness of the colors, outstanding contrast, and overall image smoothness and clarity made video games look outstanding (I actually decided to keep a game I was going to trade in because it looked so much better on this TV), and animation is draw-dropping. Well-mastered DVDs look as good as they possibly can, and I can’t wait to get a PS3 so I can try out the Blu Ray discs that are sitting on my shelf.

The sound on the TV is actually very good for a TV once you break in the speakers, and the only real downsides to this TV overall are that it produces a lot of heat, it has bad glare in direct sunlight, and you might need to be a LITTLE more careful than with a CRT about screen burn-in (the TV has a mode to clear after-images, pixel shifting, and a screen-saver, but over the long-term it’s probably best to try to wear the screen evenly by not over-doing 4:3 and content with black bars on the top and bottom).

And last but not least, I love the aspect ratio abilities of this TV. The standard aspect ratio is academy flat which is perfect for wide-screen TV programs (including wide-screen anime), and if you want to watch 4:3 content stretched (as I very often do) there are two modes to do so. The justified mode condenses the center of the screen so that character in the center look less stretched. I watch pan-and-scan content and old anime in this aspect ratio and it looks outstanding.

Flat-screen plasmas have been around a long time, but I am very glad I waited to get mine. The current generation handles wide-screen and regular content well, have a digital tuner built-in, and the contrast, color, and overall image fidelity are magnificent. The black levels will probably fade over time, but around the time this TV dies I will probably be getting a 3D TV that doesn’t require glasses, or spending my time in the holodeck… Overall I could not be more pleased and would highly recommend this TV to anyone looking to go hi-def and flat.

Samsung UN46C8000 46-Inch 1080p 3D 240 Hz LED HDTV

This TV is absolutely stunning. I was actually waiting for the C9000 to come out, but that TV’s price is way over the limit. I found out that this TV which is the next step down and actually has the exact same technology as the C9000 minus the touchscreen remote (which can be bought seperately) and the slim profile, not a big deal considering the TV already looks beautiful and is half the price or less then a C9000!

In all honesty, I think this TV has one of the nicest pictures I’ve ever seen. One example is the pin-point dimming, which has garnered a lot of criticsm and skeptisism. I have seen the production TV model live and I must tell you, I think it’s better then local-dimming and I’ll tell you why… Unless there is a new panel that is made to fix the local-dimming “halo affect”, this is currently the only way to get outradgeous contrast levels without that problem. The pin-point dimming on this TV dramatically lowers the dark spots on the screen in certain area’s without a halo affect and actually goes completely pitch black when watching movies with dark screens just like a local-dimming TV. I think this TV actually excels at the dimming part over a local-dimming TV because it creates supurb black levels without any halo affects. That’s a huge deal for me. Next is the color accuracy of this panel, I think the whites and colors on this TV are probably better then I’ve ever seen. Sure Plasma’s can sometimes have better color temperatures, but they will not pop out of the screen with ambience like this TV shows. This TV is sharp looking and beautiful and it displays wonderful 3D and High-definition like never before.

Last, but not least… this tv is LOADED with features, easily making it one of the most feature rich TV’s there is on the market. It’s completely wireless, has 4-hdmi conenctions, has internet applications and streaming capabilities and best yet, it does it well! I have done a lot of research and have compared this TV with it’s newest competitors and this one is it. Don’t just take my word for it, go see it for yourselves and you’ll just see what I am talking about.

Samsung LN60C630 60-Inch 1080p 120 Hz LCD HDTV Black

This TV is amazing. Don’t be scared that it is not LED, trust me this picture will rival anything out there. When watching sports its feels like your at the game. The image is so clean and uniform it’s unbelievable.

I use this TV for my Xbox 360, Blu-Ray, Direct TV. There have been zero issues and everything works great.

This TV doesn’t have any of the problems that LEDs have such as uniformity issues or uneven backlight. For the price this can’t be beat. Everyone that comes over to watch TV is simply amazed at the picture quality. The TV not only has a great picture, but looks good too.

The remote has been improved from previous models that had the scroll wheel (like an ipod) which was difficult to use. This remote is simple to use which is nice. The TV also switches much faster between inputs. There is no lag when switching. There are no problems between audio and video being in sync, I do use a receiver for surround sound.

The only thing to do when getting this TV is to turn down the auto-motion plus to clear from standard so the picture doesn’t look jerky. This has to be done on all Samsung TV’s ( I own two). This is not a problem as you can customize the auto-motion plus to your liking. This TV doesn’t have apps, but to me that is no big deal, who wants to use facebook on their TV anyways?

Overall this is an outstanding TV and after months of research I am extremely pleased with it. I would recommend this TV to anyone.

Samsung LN40C530 40-Inch 1080p 60 Hz LCD HDTV (Black)

Did a lot of research on TVs before I decided to get this one. Was not excited about the 120hz TVs; do not like the soap opera/camcorder motion. I was debating if I should get the internet options with the apps on the other models, but I have a PS3 so it wasnt worth paying for the extra features. So I got this 60hz LCD and I have no regrets! The picture this TV produces are amazing, especially on Blu Ray. I watched my New Zealand vacation videos on it and it really brings out the colors and makes my video look even more movie like. Avatar looks amazing on it as well. I got it for $640 and worth every dime.

VIZIO M550NV 55-inch Full HD 1080p 120Hz LED LCD HDTV

We Purchased this television to replace a 55″ projection TV that finally quit. This television is in a room with several wall lamps and although there is some glare, after a few minutes you really no longer notice it, actually the tv it replaced was worse. The remote and television operation is easy. Our Sony Blue Ray works well on HDMI 2. We have 2 Wii’s and have them connected to the COMPonent input and the AV input. We have our HD cable box connected to HDMI 1. The HD from the cable box is awsome!
Power consumption seems to be about 70 to 95 watts when on and reads next to nothing when in standby. Our 42″ plasma uses about 330 watts, OUCH.

We bought this TV because after researching the PIP (picture in picture) options we thought this set would do PIP from AV and COMP at the same time. WRONG, the manual is wrong, you can do PIP using one digital and one analog only. I was disapointed with this, but I found an adapter for the wii that changes the output to HDMI, so that problem is solved. I have not found any TV that will do PIP for both my wii’s at the same time.

My wife thought the audio was o.k., but I didn’t like it, so I bought a Vizio sound bar ($90) and that problem is solved.

The internet connects very easily and Netflix on this set is great. We also have 2 Sony Blueray with internet, this set has more internet tcontent and options than my sony bluerays do.

We paid 1600 for this set from Costco and with Costco you get a 2 year warantee.

Samsung UN46C6800 46-Inch 1080p 120 Hz LED HDTV (Black)

This is probably less a review of the TV than of the purchase itself from Amazon. First the TV. It is great. The picture is superb, the ease of use and connecting is great and I have nothing but accolades. My biggest concern was buying something like this from a place far away (I’m in south Florida) that has to be delivered, setup etc, connected, etc was how was I going to get it in my place and working. Going beyond the fact that Amazon had great pricing on the TV and the extended warranty (saved over $1100 on the total package that was quoted to me from a major retailer a few miles from my home)there was the fear about actually getting it setup and working. But all this went smoothly and the fear was ungrounded. When I purchased, I picked a date and time for delivery. On the appointed day at the appointed hour a truck showed up, a driver knocked on my door, carried the TV in, unboxed it, set it up, connected it to my sound system, cable etc and showed me how to run it and left. Absolutely stunned me that it went so smoothly and efficiently. I have told my friends to have no fear buying anything from Amazon that takes actual delivery and setup. It is done correctly with nothing to worry about. It was a top notch experience. Now if this Samsung lasts as long as my last one (31″ from 1993 and now running somewhere else) I will be even more delighted but that is what I have come to expect from Samsung products of which I have many.

Samsung UN55C6300 55-Inch 1080p 120 Hz LED HDTV (Black)

In considering what TV to buy my parents, I had the apparent choice between buying an led LCD or a plasma. I opted to get the led, but you wouldn’t really be wrong to go the other route. My parents just wanted any TV that was bigger than 50 inches while I, being somewhat of a techy, needed to find the best TV over 50 inches. Well, here you have what I would call the third best TV over 50 inches (the 8500 and 8000 models being better) at the time of this review. This is the first of Samsung’s new line of lcds to come out this year, and it narrowly beats out last years 6 and 7 series TVs by offering a better contrast ratio (4,000,000-1 vs. 3,000,000-1) for virtually the same price point. Otherwise, it’s pretty much identical after reviewing the specs. Newer is better though in this case also because of the firmware upgrades and other fine improvements in engineering and technology.

The TV was delivered about 5 days after I purchased it through Amazon, and it took about 15 minutes to set up. Out of the box the thing looks incredible. It’s as thin as a blackberry! Some assembly was required with a phillips head and about 10 screws to attach the tv to the stand, but it was only 4 steps total and added to the suspense. After plugging in literally two cords (the hd component cables and the power cord) you are up and running. When the picture came on it was CRYSTAL clear. It puts every other TV I’ve seen to shame. You can go to Best Buy and do a side by side comparison and you won’t find anything better. Forget about the plasma, this is the way to go. I could describe in more detail how great the picture is, but suffice to say it’s flawless from movies to news to sports. Even if this is not your first HDTV, you will notice a big difference. I bought a 32″ 240 mhz set in Decemeber and this tv is in another league. The LED side panel illumination works well, and there is very little adjustment of the settings necessary to achieve true to life picture quality.

“True to life” will be understood in a new way when you buy this TV. The longer it has been since your last TV purchase, the more breathtaking this advancement in technology will be. Regardless, this will be a TV that will have a useful life for years (longer than a plasma) and will always look amazing. That being said, I would get the warranty (2 years) for an extra 170 or so.

Note: I chose lcd over plasma because lcds are noiseless and don’t have the risk of picture burn-in. The 58′ plasma I was looking at is the same price. This TV is better than plasmas priced less at the time of the review. If price is the main concern, I might do an in store side by side comparison with cheaper plasmas to see if the difference to you is worth the money.

VIZIO M220VA 22-inch Full HD 1080i 720p LED LCD HDTV

First of all, John Huang must have gotten his models confused. This unit does not have a detachable base- it is designed to sit on a counter or shelf and the base has two front firing speakers. Perfect for bedroom or kitchen countertop; fits very nicely below wall mounted kitchen cabinets.
The picture quality is superb!! Sharp as a tack and brilliant color, with very rich blacks. Don’t know if it’s the LED lighting that makes it so good….but it is!
Sound: Far better than many this size which put the speakers on the back or facing down. Very adequate volume, but with 2″ speakers you ain’t getting audiophile quality.
This is an excellent unit and the low price makes it a superb value.

Samsung LN55C650 55-Inch 1080p 120 Hz LCD HDTV (Black)

About me: First HDTV, but I am an Electrical/Software Engineer so I have a high level of technical ability, with a low expectations. I have been micro analysing which TV to buy for far to long. I attended CES in 2009 and 2010, and have seen all of the new TV that are coming out (probably why I kept waiting so long). This is the perception from which this review was written.

I received this TV yesterday and watched it for most of the evening. Very good picture! I was considering the LG55lh40 but after viewing the Samsung LN55B650 side by side with the LG at Best Buy my wife and I realized there was little competition. We had the tech at best buy let us mess with the settings for around half an hour (starting with the auto-calibration from LG) but just couldn’t get it to look right compared with the Samsung. I was rather upset, as I have read numerous great reviews about the LG and it was a considerably cheaper price. Logging into Amazon I noticed the LN55C650 was on sale for $1620 (even cheaper than last years B series) but had no reviews, so I was a little nervous to order it. Hindsight is 20/20 and I definitely made the right choice. The picture is very clear and has that crisp look that Samsung is famous for.

My surround sound system will not be delivered until today, so I was stuck using the built in speakers last night. I was very impressed with the sound this thing could pump out. I varied the sound between 25 and 50 (out of 100) and it was more than loud enough and filled the room nicely. This is by no means comparable to a nice sound system, but compared to any other TV I have heard, it is definitely up there in sound capabilities.

Looks wise, I think this is much better looking than last years B650. I didn’t care for the red touch of color that surrounded the whole TV. This model only seems to have the red at the bottom center, and it adds a really nice accent without being overpowering like I felt last years were. This is just a personal opinion.

Cons:
The 120HZ feature, which was heavily complained about in the LN55B650 still has problems. The first thing I did when I got the TV was watch The Dark Knight BD (1080P) on my PS3 using a V1.3 Cat2 HDMI cable. I thought something was wrong with the TV as it was doing very strange things with background motion, but after turning the 120HZ feature off the picture cleaned up perfectly and I no longer notice any problems while watching it. I tried all of the different 120HZ modes, and they all had the same problem. That said, I turned it back on while watching HDTV (720p obviously) and it seems very clean with the 120HZ.

It is 2010 and they still can’t put a wireless radio built into the television? I find this to be ridiculous that you have to purchase a separate module in order to get wireless. My router is very far away from my TV and it will be expensive to have network cables added.

I will update this if I notice any other issues.

LG INFINIA 50PK750 50-Inch 1080p Plasma HDTV

Great TV, with ever so slight a buzzing noise that is the function of the picture brightness.

I can only hear it when everything is absolutely quiet and I am fast forwarding the remote DVR. It sounds like a transformer or capacitor noise. I cannot hear it over the TV’s volume – only when the TV is on mute and it is displaying a very bright image (I sit 8′ away).

The LG Certified Tech verified everything and said that he believes that it is due to the 2010 panels being much thinner – less material to absorb and dampen out the vibrations (once a Mechanical Engineer, always a Mechanical Engineer).

The long story: Bought it a couple of weeks ago from another vendor. It arrived late Sunday night, so I did not have time to really enjoy it until the following weekend, by which time I had also completed the 100 hour Plasma TV burn in.
I gave my wife the option of this TV, the equivalent and equally priced Samsung 50″ (with 2 million contrast ration in place of the LG’s 3), versus the Panasonic G25 for an additional $300. I took her to a store that had all 3, and she picked this for its beautiful clean lines.

I had a concern about the Panasonic TV retaining its deep black levels, so I was relieved (if it was not for that, I would have just picked the Panasonic and not mentioned the other two). I was also concerned about the Samsung’s buzzing noise, which seems to afflict random sets (even in the 2010 models).

I sat to watch the TV over the following weekend. Everything was fine during the day, but at night, when the hose was perfectly quiet, I started to hear a very slight buzzing noise whenever I fast forwarded or paused the DVR’d programs – especially whenever the image was very bright. Upon further investigation, I realized that the noise was coming from the back of the TV, and that if I pushed in on the back of the TV (bottom right quarter, as you are looking at the TV from the front), I could cut the noise by 2/3rds.

Had the tech come out and he verified it. Had the store bring a replacement today, and it had the exact same issue (sitting on a different table), so I sent the new one back. FYI: The Tech said that the Samsung’s noise is more of a very loud (by comparison to my LG’s noise) rattle, caused by a vibrating coil. He also offered to replace the LG’s board, but said that he doubted very much if that would resolve anything.

I could still return this and get the Panasonic, but I will not: It looks much more impressive than the Panasonic and I can only hear the light buzz if it is mute, at night, on a torch bright screen.

I am loving it and keeping it.

Samsung LN37C530 37-Inch 1080p 60 Hz LCD HDTV (Black)

I have had my Samsung TV for about a month now and I absolutely love it! I ordered it from amazon.com and when it arrived, the delivery men set it up for me! I did a lot of homework prior to choosing a TV to buy, and Samsung always had the best ratings and reviews, but they were consistently higher priced. This Samsung is not only affordable, ($50 more than the Vizio I was looking at buying,) it has so many more features (as well as much better specs,) than the other TV’s in it’s price range. It is, in my opinion, the best LCD flat panel TV buy in this price range. The sound and color are amazing. It looks attractive and is very user-friendly. The features are endless on this TV as well! You can adjust any of the features to suit your tastes and needs. This is my first flat-panel TV and I have had no problems or complaints so far. I would definitely recommend this TV over all others in this price range.

Samsung PN50C430 50-Inch 720p Plasma HDTV (Black)

This was my first flat screen purchase so I did a lot of research. It paid off because this is a really nice looking set with a beautiful, crisp picture. Haven’t gotten a blu- ray player yet but I’m still stunned by the crispness of the picture at 720p. Previous reviewers claimed I would not be able to tell the difference on a 50″ set between 720 and 1080 and I have to agree. So the roughly $600 savings i gained on purchasing this set gives me a cushion for the next generation, 3d set I’ll probably buy in 3 yrs or so. By the way, the sound is very good as well. If you don’t need the full surround sound theater effect with a booming sub woofer, this electronically sophisticated sound system should make you happy.

Philips 32PFL3505D/F7 32-Inch LCD HDTV Black

I purchased this TV because I made a promise to myself if I complete a particular goal in my life this will be my reward! I am so glad I completed the goal! I bought the TV for my bedroom. I originally had a 19″ CRT style TV mounted up on a shelf in the corner of my room. It worked good there since 1994.

I finally got the TV mounted up on the wall. It would not fit on the shelf where the original TV was mounted. The color on this set just “jumps” out at you. And I have to tell you I am running this TV on rabbit ear style antenna. There was no need for the converter box (that I had with the other TV). plugged it right in and the TV searched for all of the available stations. I picked the ones I wanted and omitted the ones I did not want to view.

You also have to understand the the streaming capabilities. Every signal that comes into your home comes in at 480p. So unless you are doing a lot of gaming on your TV you do not need anything higher than a 720p. It’s the way the different manufactures are ripping you off by selling capabilities that you will never need.

The cost was a good thing too. I payed $349.00 (out the door price) and that was delivered to my front door. A week later I saw the same TV at the Target Store for the sale price of $369.00 plus tax. I can’t complain it’s TWICE AS BIG AND THE COLOR IS GREAT!

Panasonic TC-P50S2 50-Inch 1080p Plasma HDTV

I bought and evaluated this TV for about two weeks before taking it back and purchasing the new Sharp 52LE810UN edge-lit LED. I have since taken back the Sharp and will be picking up the TC-P58S2 tomorrow. Here are my thoughts:

Overall Picture Quality: Overall the S2 has superior picture quality to the Sharp Edge Lit. The LED’s only advantage is the Film Mode/Motion Flow, which gives the picture a very smooth video like appearance. Some people don’t like this as it doesn’t represent the film in the manner the Director originally intended.

Black Levels: The S2 has great inky blacks. These black levels hold whether in a completely dark or brightly lit room. The LED edge-lit black levels were no where near as good. In a dark room the Sharp’s screen looked white/cloudy, even with the backlight turned all the way down. A full LED set with local dimming would likely fair more favorably against the S2.

Constrast: The S2’s contrast was far better than the Edge Lit LED. Again, in this area Plasmas still dominate.

Bright Room Performance: The S2’s matte screen did an excellent job of handling bright rooms and it’s backlight was plenty strong to handle even direct sunlight. The glossy screen of the Sharp was very, very reflective and seriously detracted from the viewing experience, despite it’s very powerful backlight.

Viewing Angle: The S2’s viewing angle is phenomenal. You can sit at any angle to this TV and still have a bright and vibrant picture. While the Sharp LED had good viewing angles, it can’t keep up with the Plasma and began to get washed out at about 70 degrees.

Network Connectivity: The S2 does not have internet connectivity like the LE810. The LE810 has a host of internet widgets and features. This was not an issue for me though, as I utilize my PS3 for internet connectivity and BLU-Rays, meaning the Sharp was redundant for my purposes.

Connectivity: The S2 does not have a d-sub input. This could be an issue for some, but was not for me, as I have an HDMI output on my laptop.

Design: Thin Edge-lit LEDs have great visual appeal, but they sacrifice performance for looks. The S2 is comparable in design to mid-priced LCDs, though slightly heavier. The buttons on the S2 and its remote function well and are well laid out. The buttons on the Sharp are “supposed” to be touch sensitive, but require A LOT of pressure to activate. The Sharp’s remote is stylistically and functionally similar to the S2. Again, this sacrifices looks for function. The Sharp’s base is solid glass, whereas the S2’s is plastic.

Sound: Surprisingly, the Sharp delivers great sound (for a flat panel) despite it’s thin design. The Sharp pumped out more volume at 25% than the S2 did at 50%. The Panasonic has weak sound for large rooms. I’d recommend using a HTIB or Receiver/Speakers with the Panny. The S2 now sells for $899 on Amazon. This is a great value! The $1,200+ price of the 58 inch S2 is truly compelling. With the Sharp, for $1,799 your getting the newest LED technology with internet connectivity in a slim design.

Value: I purchased the S2 for $1099. The Sharp cost $1,799. The Panny outperformed the Sharp in almost every area and does so at over $900 less.

I highly recommend the Panasonic to anyone looking for picture quality first and design second.

iSymphony LC26iH56 26-Inch 720p LCD HDTV Black

Product Description

The iSymphony LC26iH56 is a 26-Inch 720p HD LCD Television. The TV has 1366 x 768 native resolution and wide-screen (16:9 aspect ratio) for a complete home theater experience. The super high picture quality has been realized by VIORE engineering with high brightness for a vivid and brilliant picture and with high contrast for deeper blacks and brighter whites. The ATSC TV tuner is integrated for over-the-air HDTV broadcast reception. HDMI input is provided so that the digital signals for both video and audio will be transferred without any degradation from Blu-ray Disc Player, DVD Player, Game Player, or Cable/Satellite Box. A VGA port is also provided so that you can use the TV as a computer monitor.

LG 46LD550 46-Inch 1080p 120 Hz LCD HDTV with Internet Applications

The 46″ LG LCD 120 Hz/1080p is my first HD TV. I wanted to make the right choice for my budget, and spent hours and hours looking a different brands and models, comparing prices, and reading countless reviews before deciding on this TV. All I can say is that all of my experiences so far indicate that I made the right choice. The HD picture is exceptional, there is virtually no glare on the screen, and the set-up is extremely user friendly. If you are looking for a fairly large, high quality TV for HD television, Blu-Ray, and PS3/Xbox360 for around $1k, this is the TV for you!

Vizio E320VL 32-inch 1080i Class LCD HDTV

For the money, I believe this to be the best buy right now. The picture quality is very good, perhaps only surpassed by Samsung, but Samsung costs much more. The sound quality is better than average, and better than Samsung because of the front facing speakers. The TV itself is very attractive and is very easy to set up and navigate the menus. If I had to do it over again I would buy this model. Also, unlike most TVs, it’s made in America, so…
Amazon.com had the best price, and shipping was reasonably quick. (free)

TCL L26HDF11TA 26-Inch 720p 60 Hz LCD HDTV with 2-Year Warranty Black

I have never heard of “TCL.” In a world where brand-recognition often provides the confidence needed for a consumer to invest in it, I suppose you could say I was dubious of this television’s quality. Nonetheless, I soon became a convert …

Foremost, I ordered this item on a Thursday at about 3:00 PM … and it literally arrived the next morning at about 8:30AM. Having not requested overnight delivery (because it was not an option), I was already impressed. (And for those who worry about purchasing electronics online, this television was handled with care. Not a ding in the box. Perfect transit!) Then, when I went to lift the box, I was bracing for a heavy trudge to the living-room. It turned out to be surprisingly light. I have two other flat-screens: a Polaroid and a Samsung. Both are pretty hefty. I worried that weight had some correlation to quality. Wrong again. The picture quality is more vibrant than I expected … the whites and blacks, very crisp. Similarly, the sound is full and lush. (Both picture and sound are fully adjustable and customizable).

The set-up was a snap: unscrew the stand from the back of the tv & attach it to the base … plug-in, connect cable, and scan for channels. Done.

The remote control is full-sized and ergonomically correct. My only complaint is that the batteries were not included (even though the description here states otherwise). Finally, there was no product guide (my box only included a double-sided set-up sheet). Now, let me be honest … I think product guides are a waste of paper. (These things are pretty self-explanatory). But some older consumers may not know how to adjust color, personalize sound, or even update the date/time. So, while I think this omission is acceptable (if not welcome) by most, it may prove a shock to others. (Neither of these minute “problems” were troubling enough to warrant a star-deduction). Moreover, it does state in the description that both of these items should be in the box … so maybe this will not even be an issue for you.

Bravo for the “little touches.” For instance, a sleep-timer (with multiple options) turned out to be a pleasant surprise. Love that!

Worried about the “TCL” brand? Let me put your mind at ease. This television is gorgeous, even when powered-off (aesthetically on par with my Samsung). The colors and blacks are exactly what I would see in a more expensive brand. The sound is impressive. And, the set-up … a breeze. And, seriously, I loathe when companies cheap-out on the remote … no need to worry about that here! (Just be sure to buy some batteries before your new television arrives). I cannot gush enough about this exemplary product, so buy this TCL with confidence. You will not regret it.

Samsung PN42C450 42-Inch 720p Plasma HDTV (Black)

Just received the TV today! It arrived a day early, which was a pleasant surprise. Once I fired it up, I was ecstatic with this set. The quality is amazing for the price, the picture blows away a top of the line 42″ 1080p LCD display that I’ve seen. Deep rich colors, high contrast, fluid motion…there is nothing not to like! Streamed Spartacus off Netflix, and compared to my old little 22″ LCD it really came to life.(Even if the writing is really bad)

It was able to find some basic cable channels in HD, which is awesome, and Modern Warfare 2 looks simply astounding (again, much better than on aforementioned 42″ and 22″ LCDs.)

The sound is decent, it’s actually better than I was expecting. It’s obviously no Home Theatre, but I was impressed. It’s got a few connections which aren’t listed on Amazon…the 3 HDMI, 1 PC, 1 USB, 1 Component, 1 Dual Component/Composite, Audio In 1/8″, Audio Out 1/8″, Optical out, and cable. The menu is very easy to navigate and adjust, and in it you can turn off it’s startup/shut down sound if you find it irritating. It’s kinda soothing though.

One negative I’ve found is that the audio running out isn’t controlled by the televisions volume, I guess that’s pretty standard, but it means my cheap computer speakers aren’t much good. (No remote) Also when installing the base stand it felt like I was about to destroy the thread on the screws that are used…They aren’t easy to get in there!

It’s very elegant, and looks great in my living room. It’s not super bright, which I love (LCD panels hurt my eyes after a while) All in all, for the money it’s a fantastic TV. I was looking for quality, affordability, and style.

LG 55LD520 55-Inch 1080p 120 Hz LCD HDTV

First off…I have no gripes with the Samsung 55″ LN55B6xx series screens (2009 models) but it’s the newer ones the C630, etc. (2010) I’ve gotten 4 people to buy the LN55B6xx models and loved them so I figured it’s my turn to upgrade to this. I originally got the Samsung LN55C630 and a few things I don’t like about it compared to this LG are the following. #1 – input lag. If you don’t know what this is search it on wikipedia. Basically this LG has very minimal lag. It’s a fast panel with equal color reproduction as the Samsung. #2 – frame interpolation (the smooth thing on the 120Hz+ panels) is much more natural on the LG (whereas the Samsung looks fake). Both TVs offer customization for it in Blur and Jitter correction. I use the TV for HD content off a home theater PC, DirecTV, and Xbox360 action. I found both TV’s give issues with videos looking “jerky” with the frame interpolation turned on unlike my old 60Hz TV but simply dropping the PC’s refresh rate to 24Hz (film is shot 23.976) made the 5:5 pull up perfect! The dealbreaker which makes the LG work is for gaming. The Samsung flat out you CANNOT play games on it with the input lag being so terrible. The Samsung was around 130-160 ms in lag whereas for me the LG is around the 50-65 ms range. Much more tolerable! Oh and this one’s cheaper!

Your best bet is to go and look at a TV before you buy it (along with reading reviews). I walked into the store (Best Buy) with my laptop and an HDMI cable in hand and started playing with all their big panels. This is the best one for the money. I took a chance on this one being there’s really no reviews on this new model but I can’t regret it one bit.

BUY BUY BUY!!!

Sony BRAVIA EX 500 Series 32-Inch LCD TV Black

So I bought this tv without reading a single review, because there wasn’t any. I wanted specifically a 32″ 120hz set because it is going to be in a small room, any bigger would have been overkill, and this fit the bill.

I upgraded from a Samsung 26″ 720p (LN26A330), which I had no complaints at all about, but really wanted 1080p since this is hooked up to a home theatre/gaming pc and I could use the extra resolution. I compared these tv’s side by side after getting the sony, and was really surprised how much better the sony’s picture was (I was using 720p on both for fair comparison, playing identical sources).

Pros
-Very bright picture, which is good for the day time
-Blu Rays do look amazing, just adjust the settings to personal preference
-True Cinema 24p mode does seem to play movies at true 24p (I set the htpc output to 24hz to accomplish this)
-Motionflow works really nicely on some blu-rays, definitely not for all movies though, but I actually do prefer it over True Cinema 24p in a lot of cases
-PC games look very good with motionflow turned on, especially FPS’s. Motionflow makes 60fps look like 120fps and you can tell a difference in how clear and smooth everything is.
-Extremely energy efficient, uses only 40w in power saving mode, ~75w normal mode (this is better in both categories than my 26″ samsung, which amazed me!)

Cons
-Speakers on my old samsung might have been a little better, its hard to tell for sure, but its not a big difference.
-Very minor, I wish a single button could turn motionflow on and off instead of navigating menus

Overall, I am really happy with this set. If you like 24p true cinema and/or motionflow and are willing to pay a little extra, I’d recommend it. If your not that concerned with those features, I would probably get a less expensive 60hz set, but I am glad I got this one.

btw, make sure you don’t don’t turn Cinemotion to auto1 if Motionflow is already on. It gives movies a really strange effect, like your hallucinating or something.

Toshiba 55G300U 55-Inch 1080p 120 Hz LCD HDTV (Black Gloss)

My husband was not sure he wanted a new TV and now I can not get him away from the TV. The color is amazing and the contrast so sharp and clear, it is a pleasure to watch, I already owned a 32 inch Toshiba that I also purchased from amazon so I trusted the product,but was concerned about the sound because the smaller set has adequate but not great sound, but this larger set is much louder and it is not a real issue as we will be using the surround sound any way. For the price this has to be the best deal out there right now and I could not be happier. I have an issue with the shipping company but it has nothing to do with amazon or the quality of the TV so I am a happy custo

Samsung UN22C4000 22-Inch 720p 60 Hz LED HDTV (Black)

I had originally bought a Vizio LED 22inch. It had poor sound and picture quality. Since 2006 I’ve been avoiding Samsung products since I bought a DVD recorder from them that records DVD’s that only play on the machine that records them. My recorded DVD’s wouldn’t even play properly on another Samsung DVD player. Back then I called them to tell them my problem; they basically told me I was out of luck. I was hoping to Archive some old home movies.

At my house I have a Samsung DLP, and the beformentioned DVD player that upconverts the DVD’s to high definition. I also had an old style 13 inch Samsung TV that gave good service.

I chose this Samsung 22 LED since I had seen it at Best Buy and saw that the picture quality was very good. There is pixelation on dark scenes but this may be due to AT&T U-Verse. Aside from this the picture quality is very good and better than a supposed 1080p Vizio I had bought. I later learned that the only place you can get 1080p is from a Blu Ray player. Cable/Satellite companies are broadcasting in 720p.

The sound on this TV is excellent and it comes with different sound options, all of which sound very well.

The only drawback so far on this TV is the on/off timer. This is a feature I wanted to keep since my old 13 inch Samsung had it. The weird thing about their On/Off timer is that when the TV comes on you can only choose from two source options, the USB drive or the coaxial cable connection. So you can’t wake up to the HDMI source setting of the TV, I don’t know why they put this limitation into the design of the TV, it’s very odd. Hopefully they’ll have a software update to correct it.

From what I’ve understood from reading the manual it can’t play quicktime movies, I haven’d had time to try one. If it can’t play quicktime videos that’s another limitation the set should have corrected in the future.

The design of the TV itself is very nice, and while the remote is a bit bulky it has all the basic functions. I like that it has a sleep button right on the remote. Some other TV’s make you go through a long Menu to get to the sleep setting; when you are falling asleep pressing a button a few times is a lot easier than some intricate navigation menu.

The OnScreen menu is easy to use once you figure out how to navigate around it. A thoughtful feautre they put in is that when you highlight a choice such as “digital noise filter” an explanation comes on at the bottom of the screen indicating what this feature does.

I liked that it has a PIP option. The only thing you can watch in the PIP window is the coaxial cable connection though. I hooked up my computer to the TV and was able to watch regular TV in the PIP window.

I would definitely recommend this set to a friend.

LG 42PJ350 42-Inch 720p Plasma HDTV

Let me start by saying that I am not a videophile, but when it comes to purchasing a television I can be very picky. I went through the whole LCD vs. Plasma dilemma 3 years ago when I bought my Samsung 5084 (one of the best non-Pioneer plasmas at the time). That said, I was ready to supplement that unit this year with a ‘smaller’ LCD for the bedroom (didn’t want to sweat IR, horizontal line bleed, etc). Needless to say, LCD options in the ‘budget’ range lack features that alleviate some of their drawbacks, forcing you to suffer through motion blur, clouding, and terrible black levels if you choose a set for ~$800).

Enter the 42″ plasmas. For the sake of comparison, I decided to investigate the plasma alternative once again. This essentially brought me to the Samsung C450 due to my positive experience with the 5084 and glowing reviews for the C450. Unfortunately, users reported an audible buzzing noise from the Samsung (a noise I know full well from the 5084 and did not want to deal with on a bedroom set).

Enter the PJ350. I only became aware of this set after seeing it next to the Samsung at the store. From a design perspective, it tops the Samsung with an ultra thin bezel, very thin chassis, and no ‘touch of red’. Furthermore, I heard no buzzing from the LG floor model, while the Samsung sounded like someone was digging honey out of a beehive. Since it is a brand new model I had no reviews to rely on, but I took the plunge.

Picture quality from this unit is superb for any sub-$1k TV, much less one at this price point. This 720p set rivals my 1080p plasma in most respects, most notably black levels. I have only had it for a few days now, but setting the TV on ‘cinema’ mode at 70 contrast and 50 brightness is really impressive (I recommend switching those two numbers for several weeks to break in the unit). If you place your head behind the unit, you can hear the typical plasma ‘buzz’, but this is completely inaudible at any reasonable viewing distance. While this goes without saying, all the benefits of plasma are apparent with this TV: cinematic quality motion (none of that chincy 120hz movement), 24p bluray playback, consistent backlighting, etc. I have noticed a tiny amount of false contouring, but less than my Samsung – hardly an annoyance. OTA video quality is, of course, superb. The reviewer who stated that colors are not as vivid clearly didn’t recognize that picture settings are independently adjustable for each input. This TV does offer a settings wizard to help set the picture based on your unit and environment, but I prefer manual adjustment to suit my personal tastes.

If you’re worried about not having 1080p, don’t be. At this size, you will not detect a difference anywhere outside 4′ from the unit. The screen is quite reflective, but if glare is your primary concern then you surely can settle for the inferior picture quality of a cheap LCD. While I have limited experience with my LG, I can honestly say that I am very pleased thus far.

Samsung LN26C450 26-Inch 720p 60 Hz LCD HDTV (Black)

I received two of these within three days. The first one was damaged in shipping and Amazon sent a replacement out with free one-day shipping. Way to go Amazon!
OK, onto the review.

The hardest part with the setup is attaching the stand and inserting the batteries in the remote. The first time you turn it on it goes into setup mode. Answer a few questions and it starts to scan for channels.

The menus are easy to use. Well organized and displayed. You may need to keep the manual handy for descriptions of some of the options but experimenting is fun.

Audio- this is a TV, TV’s aren’t known for their great speakers. At first the audio was very low. After playing with the audio setup a bit I was able to set the options to my liking. You can even set the sound mode with one button on the remote while you’re watching something and avoid going into the detailed menus. The “Clear Voice” mode is a godsend for me (I’m 61 and my hearing isn’t what it used to be). I could immediately tell the difference when I selected that mode.

Picture- Very good for a set this size and price. I have two other HD televisions (a 52″ Sharp 1080p LCD and a 42″ Panasonic 720p Plasma) and this TV is as good. I’ve watched some basketball games and haven’t noticed any screen-door effect with fast motion. SD and HD channels come in clear (I have Cox Cable and I’m not using a HDTV box). The ‘Screen Fit’ option only works if you have a source connected via HDMI (and maybe component-I’m not sure). That option will adjust a SD show to fit the screen without stretching it. If you aren’t using, for example, a cable box you’ll either have to set the TV to 4:3 or suffer with odd looking stretched SD content. If you pick up HD channels without a cablebox (I get the local channels that way) the picture automatically adjusts to 16:9.

Remote- The remote is quite large (roughly 9-1/2 long x 2-1/2 wide)and isn’t illuminated. It has big keys, fits your hand nicely and is easy to use.

Overall- Very happy with this TV. I bought it on Amazon for $399 which is a great deal (the lesser featured LN26C350 was only $20 less).

Panasonic TC-P50GT25 50-Inch 1080p Full HD 3D/2D THX Certified Plasma Television Black

Disclaimer: First I’d like to say that I do not have the equipment to view this set’s 3-D picture yet. I bought it as a hedge against 3-D. I’m not sure if 3-D is going to take off, but if it does I know I’m ready for it. I thought I would get that out of the way so you will know I cannot review that feature of the TV. Now on with the show…

The Panasonic comes shipped in a conveniently designed box where you simply punch out four inserts and lift the box top off of the base. Sort of like when you get a cake from the bakery in a plastic container. Inside’s the TV, the stand, the remote (and batteries), the power cord, and the owner’s manual. Attaching the swiveling base is very simple and involves screwing a metal fork onto the base then slipping the TV onto the fork and screwing it down. The whole process takes 5 minutes and I was able to do it without any assistance. Also, I’d like to mention that Amazon shipped the TV through a company called HomeDirectUSA. They were very professional and opened the box for me to make sure the TV was undamaged.

Looks wise the Panasonic isn’t much. It’s framed in a piano black trim and is about 3 inches deep. The base is also done in piano black with a chrome band around the edge. At the bottom of the TV’s frame is a bronze colored streak. Overall it’s a classy look, but also nothing special. On the lower edge of the TV are the 3-D glasses’ transmitters and the remote sensor. On the left side of the TV are various buttons (channel, volume, menu, input, and power) along with a few inputs (HDMI, composite video, and an SD card slot) and two USB ports (for hooking up the wireless dongle amongst other things). On the back of the set (on the set’s left side viewed from the front) are two HDMI, two components, one composite, one RF/coaxial, and a PC input. There is also an optical audio out. The TV’s build quality is very good, the materials are nice, and it feels sturdy overall. Lastly, the included remote is long and narrow, but well laid out with large buttons that light up.

Using TV is straightforward and easy. It guides you through the set-up, scans for channels, sets up the network, and sets the clock. The menu system is logically laid out and easy to use. The picture controls are many and allow you to fine tune precisely, although the pro-setting are only available in Custom picture mode. Besides Custom mode there is Vivid, Standard, THX, and Game modes. Each mode can be tweaked individually and set up differently for each input. Some of the features included with the Panasonic are 5 individual timers to turn the TV on and off and a sleep timer. There is also VieraLink that, if the TV is connected to the Internet, allows you to view YouTube or Netflix among other services (I have not used this feature since I stream that content through my Blu-ray player). You can insert an SD card or a USB jump drive into the set and view photos, videos, or listen to MP3 files as well. This feature worked well when I inserted an SD card from my Canon camera and the photos looked very nice on the screen. Another nice feature is being able to set channels as your favorites so you can jump to them more quickly, or have the channel only scan favorites when you go up and down channels. Features to reduce burn-in include a pixel orbiter (which very slightly shifts the picture to prevent burn-in) and a scrolling bar pattern that wipes a white bar over a black screen for 15 minutes. While burn-in is much less of an issues with plasma sets then it used to be, if you like to watch non-high definition TV with the bars on the side, or play video games and pause them for a long time, plasma may not be the best bet for you. Finally, there are light sensors on the front of the TV to allow the set to adjust its brightness based on ambient light conditions.

Picture quality on the Panasonic is where this TV shows it mettle. I have the set hooked up in the following manner. My LG Blu-ray player and Nintendo Wii are hooked up to my Onkyo receiver, which is in turn hooked into the Panasonic via HDMI. The Blu-ray is hooked into the receiver using HDMI and the Wii using composite video. For cable, I use the RF/coaxial input. I am not a videophile and tweaked the picture menu myself where I settled on the Vivid setting with some adjustments to make it less vivid. I find the picture looks best when I leave the automatic adjustment for ambient light on. I also have the TV set-up to show 95% of the image where the edges are cropped off so I don’t view any image breakdown at the picture’s edge. Watching any high definition content, be it Blu-ray, cable TV, or streaming Netflix, the picture looks its best with great detail and clarity (this is especially true when watching Blu-ray discs). Watching standard definition content doesn’t look bad either, obviously it doesn’t look great stretched out to 50″, but the details hold up well and it’s more than acceptable. Regardless of the source, the colors are accurate, the dynamic range is great with deep and detailed shadows, and there is no motion blur even when playing video games or watching animated content. My previous television was a 32″ 720p LCD and compared to the LCD the plasma Panasonic looks more “fluid” and “film-like”. The details don’t jump out at you like they do on a high end LCD set (sometimes obnoxiously), but the picture is clear and sharp none the less. The screen has an anti-reflective coating that seems to work well. I have the set in a room with two big windows on the west side and I adjust the blinds when necessary to keep the sun’s reflections off the screen. In the end, a plasma is no worse in this regard than a traditional tube television. Overall, I am very pleased with the picture and am a plasma convert.

The TV’s built-in speakers are fine for casual viewing, but if you want a true big-screen experience you’re going to want to hook this set up to at least a 2.1 system, if not a full blown 7.2 system. Mine is hooked up to a 5.1 system.

Speaking of sounds, I don’t notice any humming from the set. Occasionally, if I have muted the sound and a bright white scene comes on I hear a slight hum, but it’s barely noticeable and goes away as soon as the scene changes. Also, the set does not give off much heat as far as I can tell.

There are only a few negatives I have about the set and they are as follows: 1) The piano black trim on the set shows reflections much worse than the screen itself. 2) The set only has 3 HDMI inputs, most have 4. 3) The remote sensor is very low on the set and I have my center speaker in front of the TV so I have to angle the remote upward in order for the signal to reach the TV.

All in all… a great plasma set, with tons of inputs, features, and adjustability, but an especially great picture quality.

P.S.: Sorry for the long review. There is a lot to cover. If you’d like to know anything else leave a comment and I’ll do my best to answer.

11/24/2010 Update: Hitting the sub-menu button on the remote allows you to quickly change the behavior of the channel up/down button. For instance you can have it scan only your favorites, or just the digital channels. This is a nice touch, and a nice shortcut.

VIZIO XVT473SV 47-inch Class Full Array TruLED LCD HDTV 240 Hz SPS

Was worth the wait! Nice deep blacks and bright whites for a super clear picture. Rich colors, but most impressed by the life like motion. 240hz makes a difference. I really wanted true LED back lit because the edge lit versions from the other brands at the same price appeared a little washed out. To get the same quality on a more well known brand like sony or samsung you’ll need to spend about $600 more. Internet apps are cool, but not sure how much I’ll use
them since my panasonic blu-ray has this too and seems to handle video more smoothly from the web.
I pre-ordered for $1399. All in all a great deal for high end non-3D LED tv.

Sony BRAVIA KDL55HX800 55-Inch 1080p 240 Hz 3D-Ready LED HDTV Black

In a world of so many options for LED LCD TV’s, I can say that this is an excellent choice. I sold my Pioneer Elite plasma due to the flicker, and was looking for a CCFL backlit LCD, but was not impressed with the selection this year (wanted CCFL backlit as I own a Samsung 46B750 LCD from 2009, and the picture is spectacular). You will often see reviews of edge lit LED’s state issues with clouding or flashlighting and uneven backlighting. The HX800 has a very uniform backlight with no issues seen with other manufacturers. I would recommend, however, to purchase the panel from somewhere like Amazon with a liberal return policy because you don’t want to get stuck with a panel that does have issues. For the price, this is an excellent panel with accurate colors, very good black levels and shadow detail, and excellent motion handling. Before buying this panel I had bought the LG 55LX9500 full array LED local dimming set and was disappointed with the banding and uneven backlighting. Overall, the HX800 is a great panel.

VIZIO E370VA 37-inch Full HD 1080p LCD HDTV

Just picked this set up from Sam’s Club for a great price. The display set in the store didn’t do this set justice. Right out of the box this tv was easy to set up to my PC, Xbox 360 and my stereo all within 20mins (no dead pixels :]). The Hi-def picture quality is awesome. The graphics coming from the xbox are astounding, and it is the perfect size for a large PC screen. Fits perfectly in a bedroom, just about the largest TV I would want for a bedroom, any bigger and you’d be to close to the screen for optimum viewing.

I bought this set mainly to use as a bigger display than my 17″ lcd on my laptop, and i was a little skeptical about the color temp and the resolution compared to a high-end computer monitor. As soon as i hooked up my laptop via the HDMI cable this screen blew my mind, the text is sharp, the color temp is spot on (has menu features to adjust) and the shear size makes editing photos in photoshop and lightroom a breeze. I’m a professional photographer and I am pretty picky when it comes to color and res and this set was exactly what I was looking for.

I highly recommend this set!

Samsung PN63C8000 63-Inch 1080p 3D Plasma HDTV Black

I bought this a few weeks ago from the local big box (Amazon didnt offer it for sale yet). Did extensive comparisons with the Panasonic 3d TV but bought this one because it is thinner and I might want to eventually mount on a wall. I did notice that Aliens vs. Monsters does have some halo effect where sometime when something very light is next to something very dark it is like there is a smudge around the item (in the movie it most often occurs with the bleach blonde hair of Susan when she is in front of dark background, or around the moon at the beginning). This really bugged me. However, there is no other 3d source material to watch yet, and you cant even use the panasonic 3d demo as it wont work with the samsung tv, so I cant otherwise comment on this rare effect. It does not occur in 2d to 3d conversion or in 2d ever.

The screen has some glare when viewing dark material in daylight, but otherwise the TruBlack does a great job of reducing glare, and 3D glasses reduce glare by 50% as well. I rarely notice glare at all, which is surprising for a plasma.

Other than the rare halo artifact (which is not visible on the Panasonic demo, but I havent seen Monsters vs. Aliens on the Panasonic tv) the tv is virtually flawless. Put in a quality blueray source and the picture is a knockout. Try King Kong, or Pirates of Caribean. Wow. I gaurantee you have never seen such a quality picture ever before. Then, as there isnt currrently any significant 3d source material, try the 2d to 3d conversion (not available on the Panasonic). Wow. It does not have quite as much depth as made in 3d, and sometimes the 3d is not absolutely perfect, but it is amazing. I just watch 2d to 3d all the time and cannot figure out how they do it. The only thing that is annoying with the 2d to 3d is when multiple lines of text are on the screen, each line of text will be given a different depth apparently randomly which is a little wierd, especially because usually it should all be in the same plane. People, scenery, sports, playstation games, etc. all look great–it just does a superb job of extrapolating the 2d into 3d. Love Call of Duty in 2d to 3d. It is like you are there.

I do think that when viewing in 3d you want to be closer to the tv than you would be ordinarily (and many others feel the same). You will also want a bigger screen than you would ordinarily want for 2d. Otherwise, it is like you are looking through a window at a 3d world. I have a home theater room with 100 inch screen and cant wait to get a 3d projector (not available yet in 1080p), but would recommend the largest 3d tv that you can afford, and 63 inches to me is only a half as large as I think is optimum.

Sony and LG are supposed to come out with 3d tvs this June in time for the ESPN 3D launch for World Cup Soccer. As they are LCD based systems they are inferior to the plasmas of Panasonic and Samsung because of the much lower refresh rates. The professional reviewers who saw them at the consumer electronics show in Las Vegas commented that they were not as good as the Panasonic and Samsung.

Only things I dont like about the tv besides the occasional halo effect: The stylish remote will only control samsung components, and it annoyingly does that. For example, each time I turn on TV it turns on the samsung blueray player as well which automatically starts playing. I only wanted to watch TV. Rubbish. Plop down a few hundred extra dollars and get the Harmony One remote (but the other harmonies are all crap). Youll be glad you did.
Also avoid the Samsung receiver, it is known to have a lot of problems. Pioneer carries the only other HDMI 1.4 receivers at this time that I am aware of and it works fine for me, although not truly necessary unless you want to pipe the HDMI through the receiver on the way to the TV.

Overall this TV rocks. The 2d and 3d pictures are stunning. The glasses are more comfortable than the Panasonic’s. The TV is only an inch thick compared to 4 inches for the panasonic which makes it look like it is from yesteryear. If you are going to wall mount for this reason alone get the Samsung. The LED tvs all suck compared to the plasmas for 3D (although the LEDs are reportedly a little lighter, brighter, lower energy, and better ambient light control all these advantages are slight and the difference in 3d picture quality is large).

Get this TV, you will be glad you did as it is the best of the currently available choices, unless you can wait a year for 3d 1080p projectors and have a dedicated dark room for the projector.

Yes, there is almost no 3d source material currently, but the 2D to 3D conversion alone makes it worth it.

One more note about the 3 channels coming for 3d (ESPN 3D, Discovery 3D, and the third I forget). All cable boxes currently in existance have HDMI 1.3. This wont carry enuf bandwith for 3D, so you can only view 720P picture in 3D as I understand it. I will update post in mid June when view these 720P 3D on ESPN 3D. So far, DishTV and Comcast have contracted to become carriers for ESPN 3D but noone else. Hopefully, 3D TIVO and cable boxes will come soon, as well as more movies besides just Monsters vs. Aliens. Mid summer is release of playstation 3D upgrade, and 3d games should shortly follow, but because of the HDMI 1.3 jack on PS3 these also in 720P only.

6/15/10 Update:
I still love the TV. World Cup Soccer on ESPN 3D is very nice in 3D, (but had to get new cable box from Comcast (have to have one that works with HDMI output, not coaxial output). Shows shot in 3d definately have more depth than 2d to 3d conversion. The 2d to 3d conversion has occasional problems, like in hockey it couldnt understand the ice and makes the ice as a backdrop with the players flying through the air. Works great most of the time, but frankly becomes a novelty after a while.
Almost all brands of receivers now out with HDMI 1.4.

LG 42LE5500 42-Inch 1080p 120 Hz LED Plus LCD HDTV

I have had this set for a couple weeks now and I am thrilled with everything about it. It has special, “invisible” speakers that use the bezel as a sound distributor. It produces sound as crisp and clear as any other set I’ve owned, but it lacks the low end range that my surround sound has. No big surprise given the lack of a sub woofer. The led technology does produce incredibly deep blacks, just as advertised. HD broadcast, DVD, and blue-Ray all look fantastic. Sports broadcast in HD are gorgeous, and i haven’t noticed any clarity problems with rapid moving images as can be true on some LCD sets. Standard broadcast stations are fuzzy, more so than my 50″ Samsung plasma. I really like the auto-select feature on the screen settings as it makes switching between sports and broadcast movies easy since you don’t have to switch the aspect ratio manually like on my Samsung. Finally, I am enjoying the streaming netflix videos via the Internet connection. I opted to use a wired connection direct from my airport. No set up problems with this set at all. I didn’t buy it from Amazon, got it at a local retailer at a better price listed here. Oh, and near as I can tell, the image on this page looks exactly like my set, contrary to what the other reviewer claimed. Maybe they changed the image? Overall, a great set with which I am very happy!

ViewSonic VT2300LED 23-Inch 1920x1080p LED LCD HDTV

I purchased this television as a computer monitor. I wanted it because of the LCD backlight, built in speakers, and large screen, for a computer monitor. When I purchased it my computer had not yet been built so I hooked it up to my cable box and WOW what a great picture! Granted I was coming from an old CRT television but hey this thing was very impressive! It is very customizable and can be set on preset settings as well. It worked great to replace a 1981 circa Magnavox in my bedroom. I used it for a couple of weeks as a television and when my computer came in I switched it to a computer monitor. I had purchased an HDMI cable from AMAZON before my computer arrived. Plugged in the HDMI cable and the power and keyboard and wal-la the picture came on with the sound! No need to configure the system to set up, it just works! Right out of the box. Being an informed consumer I had read that you need to calibrate the screen. Well when the monitor first came on I understood why. Things seemed a little blurry. I set the Veiwsonic to Computer and it helped but this was not yet the solution. I then found in Windows 7 the clear type set up under the control panel and displays. Once you configure to clear type this thing looks great! It is like reading on a piece of paper! Screens and videos look great! I am running Windows 7 64-bit professional. The high resolution high definition screen is very impressive! For me the price was right because I have a computer monitor that can be a television if I want as well. It has three HDMI connections so I can connect another computer, maybe a Mac Mini in the future, and later maybe an X-box 360! You can easily switch with the touch sensitive controls or use the remote. The colors and contrast are really incredible. This television/monitor is a great deal for the money! I caught mine at a good time to purchase because I got it for about twenty-five dollars under three-hundred dollars! If you read these reviews often you will know why I wrote it like that. It runs cool, comes on after a 5 second Viewsonic warm up screen, switches between sources easily, looks great and works like it is supposed to! In short I like this monitor a lot!

To me it rivals the Apple LED Cinema Display. Notice I said rivals not as good as or surpasses! This television is great! It works as a monitor wonderfully! Part of the reason I purchased it is due to the fact that I wanted built in speakers and an HDMI connection. I did not want to have a video cable, power cord, speakers, speaker wire, and another power cord for the speakers forming a web on my desk. This set up is clean and simple. HDMI cable to the back of the computer to the monitor, then everything works. One power cord for the monitor and one for the computer. Simple! I compared it to the Apple Cinema Display because I was thinking of using one of these to connect to my PC. Unfortunately you would need to by the Apple Mini Display video connector to HDMI conversion plug and pray that it would work. I could never get assurances that you could get PC drivers for the camera and I did not find anyone that said that it worked when they connected to a PC. Oh and also to buy the Apple you would need to cough up three times the money! I know the Apple display is IPS has a glass screen (the Viewsonic has the plasticky laptop screen) and a built in video camera. Still this does not make it worth nearly a thousand dollars! I do wish that Viewsonic would place a glass screen on this television; it would move it up in class, and admittedly in cost. I wish they would install a camera on the top of the screen, a good one, like the new ones from Logitech! Then they would have a true Apple competitor! When I looked around for a large screen, LED backlight, High definition monitor, with multiple HDMI connections, and built in speakers the Viewsonic television is the only one I could find this affordably. This is the only monitor, or television, that came close to the Apple Display, and after purchasing it and using it as both a television and a monitor, I feel that it has lived up to its printed specifications and my expectations! Buy one I think you will agree!

One more thing; I purchased this through Amazon along with another item through J&R Audio. I had to return the other item after purchasing it. I could not have had a better experience from the folks at J&R Music. They were kind, helpful, and did everything they said that they would do and even faster than they said they would do it. It is rare these days to find a company that under promises and over delivers and I feel these folks did. I am always leery of ordering from a reseller and these folks gave me confidence!

Panasonic VIERA TC-P46G25 46-Inch 1080p Plasma HDTV

I’m 70 years old and haven’t been so excited about anything in a long time. I’m also a shopper and very picky, I’ve been looking at flat screens for the last 3 years. First I loved the Pioneer elite plasma, but at about $4000 was kind of crazy – then looked at Samsung LCD which had a good review, then saw they were coming out with the LED last year, so waited for that, but was disappointed with the reviews – I always did like the plasma better than the LCD, so last year read and re-read about the Panasonic G10, then the G15 reviews, kept wondering and waiting, then to my great delight heard about the 2010 model G25 – this is it! I had a new entertainment center built to fit a 46 inch, then ordered the 46G25 – the entertainment center arrived on Tuesday and on Wednesday I got all my stuff in it and got it ready for the TV, the TV was delivered on Thursday, the Amazon delivery service took the TV out of the box and plugged it in and connected to cable – my niece picked up my old entertainment center right after the TV was delivered and I sat back and had to pinch myself that there it was, the new entertainment center with a beautiful new flat screen – I have basic cable through Time Warner, don’t even have the extra box – the TV auto programmed all kinds of channels that I hadn’t had before – all the TV channels that are broadcast in HD, like the network channels were set to two channels, for instance I have a 2 and 2-1, 4 and 4-1, 7 and 7-1, etc – the -1 channels are the HD channels, the channels that are not broadcast in HD still look good, but the HD channels are absolutely beautiful – you can set the format – so the channels that are not broadcast in HD I leave at the 4:3 format, otherwise it kind of stretches it out – there are several format and picture mode settings. I also connected to internet and watched UTube videos – but best of all the picture is beautiful – I’m glad I waited – it is perfect and I love it.

Samsung PN50C450 50-Inch 720p Plasma HDTV (Black)

I got this tv on sale the day after it arrived in stores for only $720 and I could not be happier with it. The picture is fantastic right out of the box. As with all plasmas, make sure you take the break in period seriously by turning down the contrast and brightness a bit for the first 100-200 hours. I’ve also been running the anti-burn in scrolling feature for about an hour a night when I go to bed and have yet to notice any sort of image retention although I haven’t played any video games on it yet.

There’s a lot of chatter about these Samsung plasmas having an annoying buzzing sound coming from them but I have yet to notice it. Maybe I just got lucky with mine but it runs very quietly.

LG 55LE5400 55-Inch 1080p 120 Hz LED HDTV

I’ve had this TV for just over 24 hours and so far I’m pleased. I chose the LG 5400 after visiting the local blue and yellow store as they were changing over their 2009 models to the 2010s. I was initially impressed by the Samsung LED LCDs and was getting close to buying the Samsung 7100 (7000 everywhere else with a red ToC vs. Grey at this store) when on my third trip to the store, they had just put the LG up on the wall. The picture stood out right away from the Samsungs and the Panasonic Plasma above it. The other decidng factor over the Samsung was the matte screen on the LG. The Samsungs have a high gloss screen just like a Plasma which is a problem for the room that I planned to put the TV in. It has multiple windows and lots of light so a high gloss screen would reflect way too much. As for the Pro’s and Cons, here’s what I have noticed so far:

Pro’s: Picture quality with deep blacks and sharp contrast, picture adjustment wizard and ability to tweak it to the Nth degree including judder, sleek case appearance, internet widgets (haven’t played with these too much yet so they might just be toys to brag about but, not too useful), Solid build
Cons: missing some features that others in the price range have like local dimming LEDs, PIP/POP, room light sensing, and a universal remote, 120hz instead of 240hz (not that I’ve noticed a problem yet).

Lastly, a note about mounting this TV on a wall; all of the permanent hook-ups are on the back surface (i.e not recessed into the case) so if you plan to use a low profile mount, you’ll need right angle adapters for everything (HDMI, Component Video, VGA, etc). You’ll need at least 1.75″ of clearance from the back of the TV to the wall to get all your connections made. You’ll also need to use a recessed outlet. I ended up scrapping the low profile mount and using a tilting mount that gave me 2.5″ of clearance. Made life alot easier at the sacrifice of some sleekness on the wall. This shouldn’t have been a big surprise given how thin the TV is but, I made the mistake. Oh well. After I’ve lived with this TV for a while longer I’ll post an update but, so far so good.

LG 26LD350 26-Inch 720p 60 Hz LCD HDTV

I reviewed LCD 26 and 32in TVs for weeks looking at specs and design and I finally decided on the LG350 for our master bedroom. So far I’m very pleased with my selection. It came down to the Samsung 26″ C450 and this one. For the money and options the LG was a better pick for sure. I must say the sound is by far best on this TV than any other LCD I looked at. The TV turns on quickly (2-3sec) some delay much longer. The blacks are black and the colors look great, even on standard def channels. Some LCDs look horrible on SD channels but not this one. Very pleased with the menu setup and the remote control. The only thing I’ll say I don’t care for is the picture wizard setup. It’s almost easier to just use the standard pre set picture settings and make only minor adjustments to fit your room. The stand swivels smoothly which the Sony and Samsung don’t. I also like that it’s not a glossy screen with lots of reflections. I see very little blur when viewing fast moving options. You see it, but not like some other 60Hz TVs. So if you are looking for a great LCD for under $380.00. I highly recommend this model. Oh, and don’t let anyone tell you any different. If you are looking at 32″ and below. 720p is just as good as any 1080p model in this size range.

only way this TV could be anymore perfect is for it to have a built in Blue-ray or DVD player.

VIZIO E420VA 42-Inch Full HD 1080p LCD HDTV Black

I am not a videophile and have pretty basic viewing criteria.

I did a fair amount of research but realized that most of what people were discussing on the forums would be meaningless to me when I got the television home. I looked at televisions in person — again, to my “untutored” eyes they all looked pretty much the same to me except for one house brand at Best Buys which truly did have an inferior picture even to my non-discerning eyes.

I haven’t noticed any sound discrepancy but then I can’t remember the last time I actually watched a commercial since I watch everything through TIVO and fast forward through all the crap.

I also don’t notice much of a time lag between changing channels and I think any delay is probably relating to a cable box since this changes at the exact speed as my prior set.

It does take about 10 seconds to warm up but that’s hardly a huge issue in my life and I don’t know whether other LCD sets have the same start up rates.

The set was quite a bit cheaper than an equivalent set bought elsewhere – free scheduled delivery – the guy did attach the stand and turn it on but it was up to me to set up the rest which was fine. Delivery from Best Buy was quoted at $75.

Vizio seems to be relatively reliable and reliability is somewhat of a crapshoot anyway since my highly rated SONY only lasted 5 years. Given the price differential between this set and its competitors, I’m sure I will be fine with my amortized usage.

It’s 60 mz – After researching I determined that my viewing habits had no need for 120 since I don’t watch sports. Sound is no better or worse than any television and I might see if I can hook it up to my unused BOSE CD player.

Toshiba 32E200U 32-Inch 1080p LCD HDTV (Black Gloss)

I was a little leery of ordering this new 2010 model that didn’t yet have full specifications or other product information available. If it was any brand other than Toshiba, which I’ve had great experiences with, I would have waited or moved to a different product.

Anyway, I’m glad I did order this model 32E200U TV. Ordered from Amazon for a great price, it arrive in three days, in perfect packaging and brought right to my door by my friendly UPS driver. Unpacking and “assembly” was a snap – there really isn’t much to do other than attach the stand, connect the cables, install the remote batteries, and turn it on. It asked a few simple set-up questions, scanned all my cable channels (finding some I didn’t know I had access to), and was ready to go. The remote is super clear and simple to use, everything works, and the picture is great. Black is truely black, color is well balanaced, the image is bright, people and their clothes are their correct colors, and the sound is really quite good. We have a standard 480i cable connection, a 1080i upconverted DVD, laptop streaming NexFlix, and bluray. All work perfectly and switching between inputs is seemless. It has plenty of HDMI inputs (4) in addition to analog, digital, and cable.

Can’t say much else, other that to strongly recommend this product. Buy it, you’ll like everything about it.

Samsung UN40C6300 40-Inch 1080p 120 Hz LED HDTV (Black)

I purchased this Samsung after returning a 2010 46″ Sony EX500. Sony was always a standard in quality for me, but something has really gone amis in the past few years. The television just lacked the deep black levels and crisp whites that make an impressive picture. That aside, this model Samsung was a downgrade in screen size, but a big increase in quality.

The picture is amazing. Although there are some issues with extremely fast movement, creating “artifacts”, the picture quality is superb. The LED back-lighting is new in my household, so we weren’t sure what to expect. The blacks are inky, and the brights could sear eyeballs if you turn the brightness to maximum. Compared to the Sony, changing channels is super quick and the remote control feels lighter and has a more intuitive layout. What’s interesting to me is that the picture this Samsung produces is much smoother than what I’ve witnessed on any other TV. Whatever the difference their video-processing provides, I like it. This may sounds strange, but if you stare at this Samsung, versus almost any other maker, you’ll be able to recall more of what you saw in the picture. Maybe the picture is easier on your eyes, but in the end it “just works”.

Don’t expect everything to be perfect though. In extremely fast scenes, the “artifact” issues are noticeable. There is also a screen uniformity issue on my unit where the bottom right and left tend to bloom with light when the screen should be deep black and the LED back-light is on. (Dear Samsung: if you can fix my unit, I’ll up my score from FOUR stars to FIVE).

Overall, I would recommend this television for consumers looking for a 3-5 year television investment. 3-D televisions are going to be the next big thing, but if you don’t want to spend a fortune paying off 3-D TV makers development costs, this is the TV for you.

Toshiba 32CV100U 32-Inch 720p LCD/DVD Combo TV (Black Gloss)

I was wary of getting a Toshiba for a TV, since it seems they’re not a high seller. But I wasn’t pleasantly surprised with the features on this TV. If my math is correct, you’re essentially paying an extra $100 for the convenience of having the DVD player built in to the TV, which is not a bad deal if need that.

To sum it up, this is a good LCD high-def TV with some surprisingly nice added features. I noticed that whiter flesh tones appeared a little too red and couldn’t seem to correct this with the color adjustments, but that was the only downside.
We bought this TV for our kids’ play room and wanted the convenience of the built-in player, so as to eliminate all the cords dangling from the TV.

Details….

DVD – it’s important to remember this is a DVD player, and NOT Blu-ray. However, if you’re like us, you already have a large DVD collection for your kids, so it’s not really a waste.
I was surprised at the quality of the DVD player, which seemed to upscale nicely. (DVD’s are formatted for older, standard definition televisions, so the image has to be converted to HD, which has more pixels (dots) to display.)

Blu-ray: I did not test out any features for playing back blu-ray discs, so if you really care about this you should read the manual of maybe other reviews. What I’ve learned so far on another HDTV is that you’ll want control over “judder”, which allows you to choose a setting that makes scenes with motion clearer. I’m not sure this Toshiba has those settings, so you may be stuck with what you get. Check the manual.

Power-up and Getting Started: this TV does seem to take a bit longer to power up, I think because it has to check the DVD player first, which slows things down. The getting started guide was great and easy to follow.
I did have one bug – I’m using broadcast HD. That’s right, television stations are now broadcasting HD signals for free. Of course, it’s not at all close to the number of cable channels, but who cares – it’s free! And it’s HD.
So you have to tell the TV at setup time what system you’re running – and for some reason I couldn’t really pick the Antenna setting. However, after the first setup, I simply followed the instructions for re-scanning channels for antenna, and it all worked fine.

Antenna usage – this TV has some great antenna features – it will show you signal strength for each channel. Very nice.

Picture Quality – very good. Again, the only problem I noticed was flesh tones turned out too pink or too red on some channels. I played with all of the color settings but couldn’t quite get it right. Movies seemed to be fine.
I did not watch any Blu-ray movies on this, since I had no blu-ray device connected, but DVD movies and broadcast channels looked great. 32 inches is actually a small size for HD TV’s, and you’ll notice this for a lot of channels, since they still broadcast in the old standard.
KQED here in the Bay Area looks fantastic on this thing (they broadcast often in 1080i, which is very good).

Audio – the sound is good, but not great. Still, you’ll be able to understand dialog in movies, so I think it’s good enough. In most TV’s now, it seems, they don’t put the speakers pointing out towards the user, they point down, which is simply never going to sound as good as direct sound.

Other – the TV is small and light and mounted easily to a TV mount I bought off of Amazon. There are a few standard sizes used in standard mounts, and the screws fit right in.

All in all, Toshiba did a very good job with this TV.

Toshiba 19CV100U 19-Inch 720p LCD/DVD Combo TV (Black Gloss)

I have numerous LCD TVs but they are all larger than this one. I wanted a 19 inch for ease of portability and the ability to take it on trips and to be used in different rooms as needed. Without getting technical, this unit seems to have a very sharp picture, great contrast and brightness, and a easy to use remote right out of the box. The DVD player seems to be high quality and is worth the $80 extra over a non-DVD model. I’m sure you will be glad you chose this TV…it’s a jewel.

Toshiba 22CV100U 22-Inch 720p LCD/DVD Combo TV (Black Gloss)

We have an older version of this TV in our kitchen which we were very happy with, and I wanted to replace an old television in my bedroom, so I looked first at Toshibas. The video quality is very good, and the sound issues that some people had with older models seem to have been resolved. The DVD player works great so far. My only (minor) complaints are that the screen can get a good amount of glare depending on how it is angled, and it also seems to attract a lot of dust, I feel like I am constantly cleaning it! I feel like this is a very good value for the money. I looked at similar TV/DVD combos and none had the picture quality or styling that this Toshiba has.

Toshiba 26CV100U 26-Inch 720p LCD/DVD Combo TV (Black Gloss)

I bought this LCD/DVD TV combo for my wife so she can watch her movies on DVD in the kitchen and she loves it. It’s just the right size and weight to be moved around to suit her viewing needs. The speaker are very loud for this unit and I sometimes have to tell her to turn it down a bit. The picture quality is good but not as good as my Sony Bravia unit. The colors don’t seems as rich to me but my wife said she doesn’t notice any difference. So given that, I gave it 5 stars. I don’t know about the longevity of Toshiba. I have mostly own Sony TVs. If there are any issues, I will keep you posted. BTW, there were NO dead pixels too which is great. Given the price, it’s a good bargain.

Coby TFDVD1995 19-Inch 720p Widescreen LCD HDTV/Monitor

Thank you for providing the Coby 19″ LCD HDTV. It fit perfectly into my small motorhome, and has a fantastic quality picture and a quality built-in DVD player. It also reads USB memory stick JPEG and MPEG files as well as directly from SmartCards. Thanks again…

Magnavox 26MD350B/F7 26-Inch 720p LCD HDTV with Built in DVD Player Black

I will start off by saying I am no electronics expert by far, and I just wanted a plain ole tv to watch …. not a computer monitor or to use for gaming system. I have been watching it for about a month and it has a good picture and I have used the dvd quite often and that works fine. It takes a while to turn on, 5 sec but I can live with that. It suits by needs & I am pleased with product and price $300. So if you just need a tv, nothing fancy, try it.

Coby TFDVD2295 22-Inch 720p Widescreen LCD HDTV/Monitor

this little tv does so much. view your pictures from your digital camera card. watch dvd,s. and so much more. and as useal amazon,s shipping was unreal. got my tv in 3 days

Venturer KLV3915 15.4-Inch Undercabinet Kitchen LCD TV/DVD Combo

this replaced a slightly larger screen my sons insisted on twisting everytime the went to the kitchen table… every 2 or 3 days I’d have to push it back to protect it from falling onto the floor.

The Venturer screen is the largest I’ve seen. The 270 degree swivel means it can go to either side… even though it turned opposite the way we usually watch it, getting it face on to the table left of the screen as we look at it from the front is no problem.

Picture quality and sound are great. DVD is built in, & works without problem.

I have only 2 even minor issues:
1st… CAUTION when installing… our cabinet was shallow enough there was nearly not enough room to fix it in place… I had to drill a 2nd set of holes 1/2″ forward of where the paper template said holes should be drilled, so PUT THE UNIT UP BEFORE YOU DRILL TO MAKE SURE IT FITS!!!

2nd… the remote IR sensor is at the front of the unit… including when the screen is turned left or right. We have at times found it impossible to change the station or volume from where we were sitting… a mirror on the fridge has helped in our case.

All in all, it was a great investment… saves us counter space, is better protected than the set it replaced, & went up without a real hitch of significance.

Magnavox 19MD350B/F7 19-Inch 720p LCD HDTV

Great little TV for a bedroom. I can watch movies at night, if I want to. The service warranty I bought with is also was worth getting. The company communicated with me and made sure that the warranty was properly attached to the tv/dvd combo. I am happy camper.

iSymphony LCD26iH56 26-Inch 720p LCD HDTV

Product Description

The iSymphony LCD26iH56 is a 26-Inch 720p HD LCD Television with a Built-In DVD Player. The TV has 1366 x 768 native resolution and wide-screen (16:9 aspect ratio) for a complete home theater experience. The super high picture quality has been realized by iSymphony engineering with high brightness for a vivid and brilliant picture and with high contrast for deeper blacks and brighter whites. The ATSC TV tuner is integrated for over-the-air HDTV broadcast reception. HDMI input is provided so that the digital signals for both video and audio will be transferred without any degradation from Blu-ray Disc Player, DVD Player, Game Player, or Cable/Satellite Box. A VGA port is also provided so that you can use the TV as a computer monitor.

Coby TFDVD1595 15-Inch 720p Widescreen LCD HDTV/Monitor

Didn’t know much about this brand, and got mixed reviews, but I am so glad we purchased it. We bought the mounting kit with it for a total of about $189. My husband installed it under one of our cabinets in the kitchen and I absolutely love it!! I use it to play DVD’s, Music CD’s; hook up to our computer as second screen, and even plays my IPOD music with USB!! Was surprised about the last one!! Doesn’t mention this in the manual but it does… The file structure is a bit messy to comprehend but it plays the songs. I am even having my husband hook it up to our Satellite for cable TV. (Gotta keep up with the news while drinking coffee!) Is a very good TV for our kitchen and couldn’t pass up the price…Display is also clean and crisp. Of course you have light glares, which you would expect on any LCD screen.

iSymphony LCD19iH56 19-Inch 720p LCD HDTV

Product Description

The iSymphony LCD19iH56 is a 19-Inch 720p HD LCD Television with a Built-In DVD Player. The TV has 1366 x 768 native resolution and wide-screen (16:9 aspect ratio) for a complete home theater experience. The super high picture quality has been realized by iSymphony engineering with high brightness for a vivid and brilliant picture and with high contrast for deeper blacks and brighter whites. The ATSC TV tuner is integrated for over-the-air HDTV broadcast reception. HDMI input is provided so that the digital signals for both video and audio will be transferred without any degradation from Blu-ray Disc Player, DVD Player, Game Player, or Cable/Satellite Box. A VGA port is also provided so that you can use the TV as a computer monitor.

Haier HLC19K2 Black 19-Inch LCD HDTV DVD Combo K Series

Product Description

When space is an issue, the HLC19K2 19-inch LCD TV combo by Haier is your answer. The high gloss cabinet provides an elegant modern design that will dress up any room. The built-in DVD player offers space-saving value by bundling two devices into one and eliminating the clutter of unsightly wires. You will enjoy a crisp display with 1080p and fast response time which displays full-motion, fast-moving video without any blur. Enjoy the SRS TruSurround XT Sound with sound leveler and distortion control which provides exceptional sound without the bulkiness of home theater speakers. The HLC19K2 has a component video input and an HDMI input which provides a simple solution for high-quality audio and video input. The USB input can be used for video, audio and digital pictures. Use the USB TimeShift to pause live TV. Included with the TV is a full function remote control and tilt stand.

iSymphony LCD22iH56 22-Inch 720p LCD HDTV

Product Description

The iSymphony LCD22iH56 is a 22-Inch 720p HD LCD Television with a Built-In DVD Player. The TV has 1366 x 768 native resolution and wide-screen (16:9 aspect ratio) for a complete home theater experience. The super high picture quality has been realized by iSymphony engineering with high brightness for a vivid and brilliant picture and with high contrast for deeper blacks and brighter whites. The ATSC TV tuner is integrated for over-the-air HDTV broadcast reception. HDMI input is provided so that the digital signals for both video and audio will be transferred without any degradation from Blu-ray Disc Player, DVD Player, Game Player, or Cable/Satellite Box. A VGA port is also provided so that you can use the TV as a computer monitor.

Toshiba 15LV505 15.6-Inch Widescreen LCD TV

This is a nice little unit. I find the picture very clear and the sound is not bad, considering the size of the speakers. Very light and has a very good viewing angle, better than some larger lcd’s I’ve looked at. The built in dvd player is simple and works well and the remote is very intuitive and easy to use. The only downside is you cannot mount this tv to the wall. Because of the dvd player it is not compatable with any of the the existing wall mounts. It has no mounting holes for a wall mount.
Other than that it is a great little unit for the money and works well for small spaces.

Sansui 32-Inch LCD HDTV/DVD Combo

I bought the Sansui 32-inch dvd combo because it seemed to have the best specs and price among the limited choices on Amazon. So far I’m quite pleased–the picture quality is great, the integration of the DVD player is adequate if a little clunky. My only complaint is that the TV doesn’t seem to maintain the default display type that I prefer–“natural”, which presumably will display the picture without stretching or distorting it. Perhaps this is the same with other flat screens, but this is my first. I just have to reset it every time. Overall, I would definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a reasonably priced all-in-one.

Coby TFDVD2495 24-Inch 1080p Widescreen LCD HDTV/Monitor

The first TV I received wouldn’t turn on….no power :-( I returned it and received another one and it works fine. A little disappointed that I had to wait through the long process of returning and waiting on another one but glad that the one I have now works. Thanks.

Coby TFDVD1973 19-Inch Widescreen LCD HDTV/Monitor

Has a good picture and more features then anything I was able to find at any price, and this was just a little over 200 bucks.First of all the 2 things that is not at par for me is that its so new my cable remote don’t have the code for it so I have to use the remote that came with it for volume. Plus the remote don’t work unless your under 10 feet from the set.
I have it in my garage so the dvd works great for plans that I buy on dvd and the usb slot is great for pictures or other info as is the camera card slot. If your gonna put it on the wall as I did don’t forget the wall mount that they suggest with it, ($25) you can’t get one any cheaper. Beleive me I tryed, not even wal-mart………If I get 5 years out of it I figure I got my $$$$$$ worth.

Sony BRAVIA KDL32EX40B 32-Inch 1080p LCD HDTV

I was looking to buy an LCD TV for past 1 year and specifically want Internet content. It paid off with SONY KDL32EX40B. It has internet content, it has Blu Ray player, excellent menu design, easy to operate, all in one functionalities.I ordered immediately and I got TV 3 days ago. It has easy quick setup guide. The remote control is easy to type for internet use and the manual is very user friendly to look for specific information. With this TV, there is no need for seperate box of DVD/BD players and couple of remotes to operate.

The TV switched on perfectly and blu ray was able to play DVD’s, CD and of course Blu Ray Discs. Now its time to connect LAN cable to TV. Here started the trouble. The TV just got hanged when I turn it OFF and turn it ON back again because of Internet connectivity. when i disconnected the LAN cable, it works fine, but freezes when connected to Internet.I called Sony Customer Care and they asked to reset the TV to Factory settings. But still no use. so they sent a new replacement TV. To my frustation, this TV also came up with same issue. When i called customer care, they escalated to Product support specialist and they assisted to DOWNLOAD new FIRMWARE and installed it to TV. Awesome, it works now !!

TV’s which are manufactured before June 18th (Sony released new firmware for this TV – [...]) have this problem of freeze and reboot by itself.

I am bit disappointed with Sony, if it has released firmware for particular model then why it hasn’t updated at the time of shipping or atleast it should advised when i called for Sony customer care for first time rather than sending replacement TV.

I am enjoying this TV with all internet content fully loaded and its an amazing piece if you have home theatre system too.

at Glance:

PROS : Integrated Blu Ray Player, Internet Content (youtube, netflix, quirocity etc..,)
CONS : Software initialization (internet content & Home menu) takes some time (15-30 seconds to load) when Turn it ON..but its not an issue anyway.

Haier HLC24XSLW2 24-Inch Ultra Slim 1080p LED LCD TV DVD Combo White

You will like this television! It has the latest technology and has the best picture and color of any television in its class. Easy set-up. An outstanding feature, is the white color of the set…it seems to enhance the sharpness of the picture and is easy on the eyes. Look for coupons that might help reduce price.

FAVI L2626EA-V-P 26-Inch 720p LCD HDTV

I first bought the 19 inch model planning to use it as a combo PC monitor, DVD player and TV. I didn’t get very good reception with an antenna, so decided to get U-Verse and a larger one for the living room. I didn’t hesitate to buy this one.

Pro’s: Great picture, acceptable sound, great hooked up to my sound system, easy controls, easy setup, light weight, attractive

Con’s: Favi doesn’t provide a code for the remote that came with my AT&T U-Verse system. I emailed the company asking for one 3 weeks ago and haven’t had a response. If you call them, you get a message saying that all technical support questions are handled by email. If I had realized the limited customer support, I might not have purchased the second one.

Toshiba 22LV610U 22-Inch 720p LCD TV with Built in DVD Player Black

Bought this unit for our RV for over air HDTV and DVD/DivX, Netflix downloaded Movies. We have it ceiling mounted so it takes up no valuable counter space. Firstly, it arrived 2 weeks earlier than promised (supposed to be released May 1, arrived April 14th), so that was great!

Fired it up, attached it to our RCA, powered, rabbit ears antenna and it picked up 31 Digital or HD channels (we live in the East Bay, between San Francisco and San Jose)some as far away as Sacramento. I’d only been getting 12 channels, using the same antenna set up, on my HP PC with a Hauppage tv tuner.

So far, so good, but it was the picture quality that blew us away!! Now, we have a 42″, 1080p Panasonic Plasma with BluRay at home, so are used to high quality, crisp images. This little tv’s picture quality is superior to the 42″ plasma and the color is ‘true’. We’ve had it hooked up and running for 4 days now, and each evening there are a several bursts of “Wow, can you believe how sharp this picture is?” and “I am so impressed with the picture quality of this little tv!”

Can’t speak to the sound quality, as we immediately hooked it up to a small sound system, but it plays DVD’s and downloaded Netflix movies like a champ. Channel changing is not sloth like as in the previous model we tried.

We purchased a 19inch Toshiba TV/DVD combo a year ago and returned it because we were not happy with the picture quality or the sluggish response when changing channels – it also cost around $700! We went back to watching TV and Movies on the PC, but decided to try again with this 22inch model. We are absolutely thrilled with the purchase and for almost half of what we paid for a lesser unit last year.

FAVI L1918A-V-P 19-Inch 720p LCD HDTV with Built in DVD Player/Card Reader/USB Pink

I bought this to receive over air HDTV with just antenna-no cable or dish.
In St Paul MN I can get 25 digital stations. I have 2 other HDTVs and this one has the best reception. You need the right antenna though. This one works great indoors- Antennas Direct DB2 Multi Directional HDTV Antenna and its available on amazon. The DVD player woks great too. It plays DVDs my other player cant read.

Haier HLC22XSLW2 White 22-Inch Ultra Slim 1080p LED LCD HDTV DVD Combo

Product Description

The sleek, ultra slim design of the HLC22XSLW2 ultra slim LED TV combo by Haier will enhance your entertainment room. The built-in DVD player gives you an all-in-one space-saving package without the clutter of unsightly wires. You will enjoy full HD 1080p and fast response time which displays full-motion, fast-moving video without any blur. Enjoy the SRS TruSurround XT Sound with sound leveler and distortion control which offers exceptional sound without the bulkiness of home theater speakers. The HLC22XSLW2 has a component video input and an HDMI input which provide a simple solution for high quality audio and video input. The USB input can be used for video, audio and digital pictures. Use the USB Timeshift ot pause live TV. Included with the TV is a full function remote control.

iSymphony LCD32iH56 32-Inch 720p LCD HDTV with Built-In DVD Player Black

Product Description

The iSymphony LCD32iH56 is a 32-Inch 720p HD LCD Television with a Built-In DVD Player. The TV has 1366 x 768 native resolution and wide-screen (16:9 aspect ratio) for a complete home theater experience. The super high picture quality has been realized by iSymphony engineering with high brightness for a vivid and brilliant picture and with high contrast for deeper blacks and brighter whites. The ATSC TV tuner is integrated for over-the-air HDTV broadcast reception. HDMI input is provided so that the digital signals for both video and audio will be transferred without any degradation from Blu-ray Disc Player, DVD Player, Game Player, or Cable/Satellite Box. A VGA port is also provided so that you can use the TV as a computer monitor.

AOC LC19W060C 19-Inch LCD HDTV/DVD Combo Glossy

Technical Details

  • Built-in DVD Player
  • 1449 x 900 Resolution
  • ATSC with Clear QAM & NTSC Tuner
  • HDMI, Video, Component
  • High Contrast Ratio 25,000:1

Product Description

AOC 19″ High Definition LCD TV DVD Combo unit is great for those who are looking for the best in value and performance. Improved design and great picture and sound quality, with crystal clear high definition performance.

Coby TFDVD2274 22-Inch 720p Widescreen LCD HDTV/Monitor

Very solid little TV. I bought it for my sons room and I’m really pleasantly surprised. The tv construction is solid and the performance is respectable. The remote is a little plasticy but has taken some abuse and is still working fine and looking as good as it ever did. (The last might not be a compliment.)

Here is some technical info I manged to dig up after a painfully long search. Hopefully it will help someone else if I leave it here.

TFDVD2274 usb/sd functions:
MP3 Supported Sampling Frequency: 8/11.025/12/16/22.05/24/32/44.1/48 KHz (MPEG1/2/2.5 Layer 1/2/3 ISO/IEC111723,ISO/IEC13818-3.2)
WMA Supported Sampling Frequency: The same as MP3, WMA8/WMA9 Nonsupport WMA9 lossless,WMA9 Voice,WMA9 Professional or DRM
Supported Bit-rates: Can support 5~320 kbits/s for constant bit rate. up to 384 kbps for variable bit
JPEG
MPEG1/2/4
USB can support 3.5Mbps;
SD Card can support 6Mbps;

FAVI L2626A-V-WH 26-Inch 720p LCD HDTV with Built in DVD Player/Card Reader/USB White

I first bought the 19 inch model planning to use it as a combo PC monitor, DVD player and TV. I didn’t get very good reception with an antenna, so decided to get U-Verse and a larger one for the living room. I didn’t hesitate to buy this one.

Pro’s: Great picture, acceptable sound, great hooked up to my sound system, easy controls, easy setup, light weight, attractive

Con’s: Favi doesn’t provide a code for the remote that came with my AT&T U-Verse system. I emailed the company asking for one 3 weeks ago and haven’t had a response. If you call them, you get a message saying that all technical support questions are handled by email. If I had realized the limited customer support, I might not have purchased the second one.

Magnavox 32MD350B/F7 32-Inch 720p LCD HDTV with Built in DVD player Black

This is a television for use in my workroom and I am very pleased with the ease of setup. So far everything is working great, it’s just what I wanted and at an affordable price. It seems the TV/DVD combo is becoming a thing of the past. Too bad because it is convenient and a great space saver.

Hitachi L26D103 26-Inch 720p LCD HDTV with Built-In DVD Player Black

We bought this tv for an indoor pool room. The sound on this set is clear, at high volume to be heard in a large room. I bought my first tv with Hitachi electronics in 1988 and at that time it was the best on the market badged Bang and Olufsen. It lasted 18 years. With the advent of flat screen technology I looked for the best technology with Fujitsu. But Fujitsu does not make smaller tv’s, but I read that Hitachi is a partner with Fujitsu so I bought the Hitachi 26 inch model. I am happy with it although it is 720p and not nearly as good as our 42″ Pioneer. It is the best in this category. The color is very close to reality, not too bright. The blacks and whites could be better. But it offers more picture adjustments than a lot of tvs such as temperature, “noise” and back lighting. Overall I am very pleased with the purchase of this well designed set.

Toshiba 26LV61K 26-Inch LCD HDTV with Built-In DVD Player

I havbe no problem with owning this item. It’s exactly what I needed when I bought it. It has been on almost continually since I set it up and done exactly what it is supposed to do. It has a bright, clear, and clean picture. The stereo sound is good. The DVD player works without hesitation and in alll honesty, I cannot tell you that I have any regrets in the purchase of this item. If I must list any complaint about it, it would be that the sound volume on some channels that I view appears to be lower than others. I seriously doubt that it’s the cause of anything to do with the television receiver as opposed to the cable company’s failure to check their sending levels. The channel changer may appear to be somewhat slow in changing channels, but even that is negligable. When you consider the overall operation of this device, I cannot say to anyone “do not buy it”. The price was good, the operation is excellent and I am currently seriously considering buying another one exactly like it to put in my bedroom. It’s a good item…well made and I don’t believe that you will regret it.

Venturer KLV39082 8-Inch Undercabinet Kitchen LCD TV/DVD Combo

I purchased this unit and had it for over a week now.
I really enjoy it very much, it has all the features I wanted.
The speakers are excellent quality and great sound. The TV has a great picture, and the controls are easy to understand and operate. It has a very nice appearance, does not look cheap, the color blends well with the kitchen cabinets. I am very pleased with this unit, can’t say anything bad, meets my expectations.

Sharp AQUOS LC22DV28UT 22-Inch LCD TV/DVD Combo Black

Technical Details

  • Sharp LCD TV/DVD Combo
  • Built in side loading progressive scan DVD Player
  • Dual HDMI Inputs
  • PC Input
  • 5ms response time

Product Description

Sharp AQUOS 22″ LCD TV/DVD Combo, Black, Built-in-side loading progressive scan DVD Player

Haier HLC19SLW2 White 19-Inch Ultra Slim LED LCD HDTV DVD Combo

Product Description

The sleek, ultra slim design of the HLC19SLW2 ultra slim LED TV combo by Haier will enhance your entertainment room. The built-in DVD player gives you an all-in-one space-saving package without the clutter of unsightly wires. Enjoy the SRS TruSurround XT Sound with sound leveler and distortion control which offers exceptional sound without the bulkiness of home theater speakers. The HLC19SLW2 has a component video input and an HDMI input which provide a simple solution for high quality audio and video input. The USB input can be used for video, audio and digital pictures. Use the USB Timeshift ot pause live TV. Included with the TV is a full function remote control.

Polaroid 22-Inch LCD HDTV/DVD Combo Black

I’ve owned the Polaroid TV model TDAC-02212 for three weeks now and it seems to be running fine. No problems. it looks great.

Sylvania LD195SSX 19-Inch HD Flat Panel LCD/DVD Combo

Purchased to replace a 13-in tube set. Very satisfied with price & quality. It’s also lightweight and sleek. Able to set up right out of the box and the picture is extremely clear with vivid colors. Able to pick up digital channels not previously available on non-digital tube set. The dvd player is at the top of TV almost in the center – 4 1/2 in space on right and 7 in space on the left. So it’s off-center to the right of the TV, not a side insert as I’ve seen with other TV/DVD combos. Good remote control with a couple of functions I haven’t seen before such as “pause” which immediately freezes any program – when you press pause again, it will start the program wherever it currently is at that moment so you will lose the length of time you “paused.” Remote ergonomically easy to hold but because it is long, a little difficult to use one hand to reach all buttons. Also, there’s no function for programming favorite channels but there is a button to return to previously watched channel. Must purchase a VGA cable and audio cable before hooking up PC to use this as a computer monitor. Hook up is easy and picture from PC clear. There’s a pause when changing channels but it’s not too bad. I like this flatscreen a lot and think that the quality is good. 8/25/2010 Update: TV still working great. Small external speakers have been added for fuller sound quality.

Coby TFDVD1574 15-Inch Widescreen LCD HDTV with Built In DVD Player Black

I just bought this item and so far for good. It was small, light and easy to set up. This was the cheapest flat screen tv-dvd I could find. When I connected it to my cable wire it worked instantly, However I could not find any air channels in NJ. The quality of movies is better then tv quality. If this continues to work reliably then I will be very happy with this purchase. Not sure if the usb-sd card will ever be useful but it does not hurt to have it.

Sharp AQUOS LC32DV28UT 32-Inch LCD TV/ DVD Combo Unit Black

Technical Details

  • Sharp LCD TV/DVD Combo
  • Built in side loading progressive scan DVD Player
  • Dual HDMI Inputs
  • PC Input
  • 5ms response time

Product Description

Sharp AQUOS 32″ LCD TV/DVD Combo, Black, Built-in-side loading progressive scan DVD Player

Proscan 32LB30QD 32-Inch 720p LCD HDTV with built-in DVD Player Silver/Black

This TV is a good TV for a bedroom. The built in DVD player really saves space. Plus the price is right for an extra TV.I now own both a 26 and 32 inch proscan tvs, My research showed that proscan is made by RCA and RCA has been around for a long time. I would buy another as I did. Also I had a minor problem with the first one amazon sent me and within 3 days of reporting the problem Amazon had fedex picking up the old one and I had the new one in the bedroom within the same 3 day period. That was great service by Amazon. I would definitely buy another proscan and would definitely not be afraid of buying it through amazon.

Proscan 19LB30QD 19-Inch 720p LCD HDTV with built-in DVD Player Silver/Black

This TV is a good TV for a bedroom. The built in DVD player really saves space. Plus the price is right for an extra TV.I now own both a 26 and 32 inch proscan tvs, My research showed that proscan is made by RCA and RCA has been around for a long time. I would buy another as I did. Also I had a minor problem with the first one amazon sent me and within 3 days of reporting the problem Amazon had fedex picking up the old one and I had the new one in the bedroom within the same 3 day period. That was great service by Amazon. I would definitely buy another proscan and would definitely not be afraid of buying it through amazon.

Magnavox 32MD359B/F7 32-Inch 720p LCD HDTV with Built In DVD Player

I am delighted with the Magnavox HDTV/CD player. Unlike other reviews on this product, I received no assistance from the delivery person. I’m 72 with rheumatoid arthritis, so it was a (painful) stretch. But I set it up myself with the help of the excellent instructions included. Both TV and CD player are working as advertised.

Sony BRAVIA KDL40EX40B 40-Inch 1080p LCD HDTV with Built-In Blu-ray Disc Player

I couldn’t be happier. Everything has worked as advertised and the quality of the unit is above average for all the junk I see these days. I wanted it for my master bedroom to mount on the wall and have as few wires and devices hanging off of it as possible. The Bluray/Dvd player works well and connecting to a network was a snap. I even streamed a video from one of my computers to it, but the streaming quality leaves a little bit to be desired. I believe that is mostly due to the infancy of the technology. The internet functions work great for what I want Youtube and netflix operate just fine.

Haier HLC19SL2 Black 19-Inch Ultra Slim LED LCD HDTV DVD Combo

I love this TV. The DVD is what I use it for primarily. It seems to work just fine. Picture is great, sound is very good and the controller seems easy enough to use. It also had a headphone jack for speakers or headphones which is also nice. It has an input to let you plug in HD components like satellite or even a blu ray player. I actually have my PS3 player hooked to it so I’m getting full high definiton for my movies. If you’re going to use the DVD player on the TV itself, be careful not to move the TV while the DVD is running. I did this and it scratched the DVD, but that’s pretty much common sense not to move this thing when it’s in motion.

My only problem I had with this thing is when I had a DVD that had multiple angles on it. The angle change works fine enough, but for the entire DVD, an “angle” icon stays on the TV. I was unable to find a way to remove it at all. It’s very annoying. It only pops up for DVD’s that “support multiple” angles which these DVD’s are not very common. I was watching a 3 Stooges DVD that one angle was black and white, and the other was color. I’m sure there is a way to remove it, but I could not figure it out. All in all though, great TV. Perhaps a little pricey, but you’re getting a good TV, and that’s what’s important.

Magnavox 37MD350B/F7 37-Inch 720p LCD HDTV with Built-In DVD Player Black

Technical Details

  • Built-in DVD player (plays DVD- DV-R/RW- CD- CD-RW)
  • 37 in. high-definition LCD WXGA display
  • 720p resolution; ATSC / NTSC
  • Adaptive 3D Y/C comb filter
  • Clear Pix Engine Plus; 20W total power

Product Description

With a built-in capable DVD player integrated digital tuner the 37MD350B enriches the total viewing experience with ultra sharp widescreen HD picture HD media connectivity Dolby Digital sound and SPDIF audio output.

Sharp AQUOS LC26DV28UT 26-Inch LCD TV/DVD Combo Black

Technical Details

  • Sharp LCD TV/DVD Combo
  • Built in side loading progressive scan DVD Player
  • Dual HDMI Inputs
  • 5ms response time

Product Description

Sharp AQUOS 26″ LCD TV/DVD Combo, Black, Built-in-side loading progressive scan DVD Player

Sharp AQUOS LC19DV28UT 19-Inch LCD TV/ DVD Combo Unit Black

Technical Details

  • Sharp LCD TV/DVD Combo
  • Built in side loading progressive scan DVD Player
  • Dual HDMI Inputs
  • PC Input
  • 5ms response time

Product Description

Sharp AQUOS 19″ LCD TV/DVD Combo, Black, Built-in-side loading progressive scan DVD Player

Sharper Image TSI-LCD22DVDi 21.6-inch 720P Widescreen LCD TV with Built-In DVD Player and iPod Dock

Product Description

The Sharper Image TSI-LCD22DVDi LCD high definition television combines stylish design with full featured functionality. Includes a built in progressive scan DVD player, USB and SD card reader and an integrated iPod docking station. This compact and attractive high definition television set blends the benefits of modern digital media with traditional television for a complete home entertainment experience. Other features include built in sleep timer and V chip parental control, variable picture and sound modes, remote control, stand. It has the following inputs 1xHDMI, 1x PC Audio, 1xVGA, 1x component, 1x S-Video, 1xRCA, 1xRF.

Magnavox 19MD358B/37 19-Inch LCD HDTV with Built-In DVD Player

Very good picture quality, specially on HD programms. Wide viewing angle. DVD player read almost any video format including some divx and xvid movies.

Haier HLC24XSL2 Black 24-Inch Ultra Slim 1080p LED LCD HDTV DVD Combo

Picture and features are OK, but the picture in normal mode doesn’t fill the full 24″ screen.

The screen sometimes tilts to the left or right because the base is flimsy – just touch the screen and it tilts – so I’ve had to bend the base back to keep the screen level a few times. Another complaint is that the audio doesn’t switch the speakers off/on when you plug-in/unplug the headphone jack like most TVs do – you actually have to work down through the menus to switch the speakers on and off every time.

I haven’t tried the DVD player in this unit yet so I have no opinion of this feature.

Zinwell ZAT-970A Digital to Analog TV Converter Box

I only have an outdoor TV antenna. No cable or satellite. I too bought this converter for the built in timer. You can record different channels at different times while you’re away from home with your VCR and TV antenna (However, you can not record one station and watch another station “at the same time”). You have to set your TV and VCR to channel 3 (always) and the timer in this converter is what you set for the time and channel to record. Make sure the clock time on the converter box matches the clock time on your VCR. Or you may miss part of your show. There is one problem that I haven’t figured out yet. I hooked this converter to the TV in my living room. My outdoor antenna cable line continues on and goes to the bedroom and the TV in the bedroom only plays the channel that the converter box is on in the living room. I have 2 of these converter boxes and so I hooked the second one up in the bedroom. It receives no channel signals. Well, that didn’t last long since I received my DVD recorder in the mail (Toshiba DR560 1080p Upconverting DVD Recorder with Built-in Tuner, bought on Amazon) and this DVD recorder has a built-in ATSC/NTSC/QAM digital/analog tuner. Meaning, I don’t need a converter box in my living room now. This DVD recorder allows me to record one station and watch another station at the same time from my over the air, outdoor antenna. Just like a VCR. Awesome! Now the converter box works on the bedroom TV. Since the DVD recorder is allowing the signal to continue on through to the bedroom. I am a happy camper. I now have an extra converter box. Maybe I’ll sell it on Amazon.

Over 3 years ago, I got rid of my cable (yes, the first 3 months was very difficult). I bought an outdoor TV antenna and lived with that for about a year. The reception wasn’t good, lots of white specs or lines. Then I bought a “booster” for the antenna. A big improvement almost like receiving paid cable. This converter box allows me to receive more TV stations then the outdoor TV antenna alone. I haven’t figured out yet what these stations are. I think they’re cable or satellite channels. This converter box also improved the reception of all the TV stations. My new DVD recorder, as I mentioned above, also improved the reception even better then this converter box.

By the way, so far I’ve saved over 2 thousand dollars by getting rid of my paid cable and going to an outdoor antenna. Add up your monthly cable bill and times it by 12. That’s what you’re paying a year for paid cable.

Panasonic SC-HTB500 2.1-Channel SoundBar Speaker System with Wireless Kelton Subwoofer (Black)

I recently took advantage of the Amazon Gold Box Deal and bought the Panasonic TCP42G25 and got this sound bar for free. This was exactly what I needed to replace a poor quality Olevia LCD TV in my bedroom. I have a fully decked out audio/video room already so all I wanted was something decent for the bedroom. After some tweaking and rewiring, I was able to integrate this with the new Panasonic Plasma, an old Panasonic Blu-Ray DMP-BD35, and a low end Dish Network VIP211. The big puzzle was a bug in the Dish receiver that caused it to fail to deliver Dolby 5.1 over the HDMI cable. I took advantage of the second HDMI input on the soundbar with an optical input to solve this problem. Bottom line, no new wires, no new A/V receiver and fantastic sound from a very simple setup. It is very easy to do a “side-by-side” comparison because Panasonic’s VieraLink will return the sound back to the TV if you turn the soundbar off. What a difference! I am only giving the unit 4 stars because of the lack of some, in my opinion, basic functions being absent. Why would Panasonic not put simple bass and treble controls on a unit that retails for $349? Other than that, I am really enjoying the new setup.

Logitech Squeezebox Boom All-in-One Network Music Player / Wi-Fi Internet Radio

I am a radio nut (going back to the tube days)and the Squeezebox Boom is my third internet radio. I have a Roku Soundbridge R1000 and Sangean WFR-20 as well. All have their strengths, but the Squeezebox Boom is without a doubt a significant step up; it sets a new high standard in performance, capabilities, and ease of operation.

For wireless streaming of your music collection from a PC or Mac, the Boom is best. It can handle more formats (nearly anything except DRM protected iTunes files) and works well without crashes or delays. In this the Roku is #2, and the Sangean ranks 3rd(crashes and stutters a lot).

For internet radio, they all work well. The Sangean is the only one that natively handles RealAudio Streams (like BBC) but has problems with clear channel stations. All of them pick up the stations I want without problems, so I rate this a tie.

If you want to interface with online music services like Rhapsody/Pandora/ MP3Locker etc, the Boom works great, with far more capacity than the other two. The Slimdevices/Squeezebox folks also update and improve their software far more frequently than the other two, so I expect it to remain in the lead in features and available services.

In sound quality, the Roku and Boom are both outstanding, with the Sangean good, but clearly a step lower. The Roku’s subwoofer seems to go a bit deeper in my room, but the Boom is perhaps a bit more smooth and musical. The Boom uses the same woofers and tweeters as the highly rated Logitech Z-10, but with better bass (because of a larger cabinet and new amp/equalizer circuitry). They both sound absolutely great and play quite loud.

Ease of initial setup: If you are starting from scratch, I think the Sangean is the easiest to set up, if you do NOT want to stream audio from your PC…that is a real hassle. Both the Boom and Roku require a bit more work.

Ease of Use AFTER set up: Boom is best BY FAR. Not only do the menus make real sense, but the illuminated controls make it the only radio you can use easily without turning on the lights. The big control knob and back lit function buttons get you through all of the functions fast.

As a Clock Radio, the Boom has more options than the others, and the display has a huge adjustment range so it will not disturb light sleepers.

All of these radios are a lot of fun. The Boom does most, and does it best.

Logitech Squeezebox Radio Music Player with Color Screen (Black)

When the Boom came out, I wanted to purchase it right away, but the $300 price tag and the inability to truely make it wireless detered me. Now that the Radio is out with a lower price tag, battery capability and a color LCD, I was totally sold. I’ve had the Radio for about a week now, and I simply love it. Even the wife was jamming to it when I got home from work the day after I bought it.

So far I have only had one issue with it…I can not find a setting to set the Album Art size to full screen on the Now Playing screen. It says in the manual that it is under the Screensaver settings, but when I go there it doesn’t exist. I sent an email to Logitech support, but have not heard back from them yet. [Updated] Logitech just released a new software version that will correct this issue.

Another cool feature that I didn’t realize existed, was the ability to control the Radio from the web.

As far as sound quality goes, it is far better than expected. There is virtually no distortion even at maximum volume. I even plugged a set of Computer Speakers into the Headphone Jack and it didn’t make that much of a difference. The Base levels aren’t that deep, but they are there. I can put it in my livingroom and pump it up near max volume and hear it clearly throughout the house.

I haven’t tested the Wireless strength extensively yet, but I was able to hook it up in the garage (1 Floor below and 50 feet from the router) and the signal strength was near full.

Overall, I am very satisfied with my purchase and can’t wait to get the battery pack so I can just carry this thing around anywhere.

Logitech Squeezebox Duet Wi-Fi Internet Radio

It’s hard to review the Squeezebox Duet without comparing it to the Sonos system, current ruler of this class of products.
Since there are already many excellent reviews, I thought I would focus on a comparison of the two, to help you decide which system best fits your needs.

Controller
———-
Both controllers are responsive, pleasant to hold and operate. They are well built, and their LCD screen of excellent quality and easy to read.
Squeezebox: thin, light, easy to operate with one hand, excellent battery life, battery is user-replaceable, comes with charging stand. It also features an infrared blaster and a headphones port, which will be supported at some point in the future (although Logitech makes no promises there have been demonstrations of prototype firmware using both features), as well as a 3D accelerometer (yes, like a Wii remote).
Sonos: bulkier, designed for two-handed operation, battery life could be better, battery is not user-replaceable, charging stand optional.

Networking
———-
I did not compare the two systems in the same location, but they both operate well with a range sufficient for most medium-size houses.
Sonos: uses proprietary mesh networking that requires to plug one of the players into the wired LAN. Other players act as repeaters.
Squeezebox: uses standard 802.11g networking. Can hook up to an existing wireless network, or the player can be used as an access point for the remote.

Players
——-
Sonos offers two players: the ZP100 has a built-in amplifier and the ZP80 doesn’t (but it offers a digital output missing from the ZP100). Both players feature an Ethernet hub and an audio input.
Squeezebox: on top of the inexpensive player bundled with the Duet, the Squeezebox system is also capable of controlling all other Squeezebox devices (excluding the first generation models).
Audio quality is comparable, although audiophiles may be attracted by the compatibility with the Squeezebox Transporter.

Server
——
This is where both systems differ radically. Sonos connects to existing SMB shares whereas Squeezebox requires that you install and run the SqueezeCenter server on your computer. SqueezeCenter is open source and runs on Windows, Mac and Linux.
Sonos: less intrusive, no software to install, works happily off a lowly NAS. But: if your music collection is larger than 30,000 tracks, you may hit the limit of the indexing capabilities, a problem with no easy workaround.
Squeezebox: requires simple installation of server software, so you have to have a computer always on. Server is too CPU-intensive to run properly on a low-power NAS such as the D-Link DNS-323

Internet radio
————–
Sonos: Napster, Rhapsody, Audible, eMusic, Zune Marketplace, Sirius, Pandora, all configurable from the controller
Squeezebox: Rhapsody, MP3Tunes Locker, Radio IO, RadioTime, Slacker, Live365, SHOUTcast, Sirius, most must be configured and authorized from a computer using the SqueezeCenter web interface.

Support
——-
Both companies offer spectacular support through their on-line forums.

Summary
———-

Price: Squeezebox. A three-zone Sonos system will cost you about twice as much as a three zone Squeezebox system.

Capabilities: tie

Ease of setup: Sonos

Ease of use/WAF: Sonos. The Squeezebox interface is beautiful, but Sonos is more logically organized and simpler.

So, should you get Sonos or Squeezebox? It depends. Both systems are excellent.
If you’re a tinkerer and want a solid, inexpensive system, the Squeezebox is for you. If you don’t mind the added cost, want the best, simplest, friendliest user interface around, Sonos is still the ticket.

One thing is for sure: Sonos finally has some serious competition.

Grace Digital Wireless Internet Radio featuring Pandora and NPR (GDI-IR2000)

This is a fantastic radio, I’ve owned it for just over a week, with no
issues. I was very positively surprised with the audio quality
produced by the Grace GDI-IR2000. After going into
“Equalization”, in the Settings Menu, adjusting the Treble and
Bass, the sound is amazing. Registering my Grace GDI-IR2000 at
Reciva.com was quick and easy. After setting up an account, I put
in the S/N and radio ID numbers of my radio, that are found in the
settings menu of the radio.

Pros:
– Fantastic sound quality.
– Had zero issues with connection to Internet
-Ten preset station buttons
– Easy to use menus

Cons:
– Clock too small, as a clock radio the numbers are only 1/4 the size of the full screen making it difficult to read at night, without my glasses. It would be better if the clock numbers filled the full screen area when in an inactive mode.

Logitech Squeezebox Touch

This is an amazing product. It is my first Squeezebox product – really my first attempt at home to do computer based audio outside of just using iTunes and plugging my computer headphone jack into a stereo, which is great fun and sounds just OK – no where as much fun or as great sounding as the Touch.

I have been waiting for a product that I could use in my audiophile home stereo. Logitech SB Transporter seemed like a good bet but it was a bit expensive ($2000) and reviews described a quality of sound (lean, detailed) that is not my cup of tea. I’m a tube guy. Love LP’s, love tube amps. Sweet lifelike sound.

If you are at all curious about computer based audio to feed your home stereo, you can stop reading here. Just buy this thing. It is amazing. It is not perfect. Some aspects of it are easier to configure than others. But for me, and I know for a lot of other people, it is a life changing experience as regards my use of music in my home.

I “rip” cds into iTunes using Apple lossless for computer playback and at a 256 bit rate for small capacity iPods. They both sound excellent when played by the Touch, either via analog out or via digital into a third party DAC.

This product is MOSTLY very easy to set up and use. It found my wifi network quickly, and it found the iTunes library on my Mac quickly. I am getting internet radio stations from all over the world. The sound from the analog outputs is now – with this new generation Squeezebox – EXTREMELY good. It has great tonality and is very lifelike. I’m comparing my superb Cary cd player (the 308T with tube output stage) to the the analog outs of the Touch and also to the digital out of the Touch into a Bryston BDA-1 DAC. The Bryston is winning awards, and it sounds incredible, (over $2k new, around $1400 used). I use the digital out of the Touch to feed the Bryston and it sounds fantastic. It is very close to my awesome Cary cd player ($2500 new plus upgraded tubes).

But the analog out of the Touch also sounds excellent. The Bryston and my Cary CD player both have a bit more detail and place the instruments and singers more distinctly in a sound-stage, and they have a little bit tighter bass, BUT BUT BUT the Touch analog output stage – for just $300 – has excellent tonality, excellent detail, deep and well controlled bass….. It is shockingly good. I may or may not get a 3rd party DAC for my home stereo (the Bryston is borrowed from a friend) but I don’t feel that I NEED to.

I bought a second Touch to use in my bedroom stereo. I am keeping the first one in my main high end audio system. As I say, I may or may not end up adding a third party DAC in the latter system, not sure, but certainly not for the bedroom system.

Caution: I am having some trouble configuring some aspects of this device, such as controlling it from my computer. The basic functionality is working great. The Touch is taking music off the server on my Mac, no problem. And also I’m playing music off an SDHC card in the Touch (the first Squeezebox to offer this functionality, as I understand). Feeding the Touch directly with an external hard drive is working hit or miss. Trying to use the computer based “player” for the Touch is mostly miss.

The remote is great. When you start to use the remote the characters on the screen get bigger – it’s perfect.

There is apparently a community of programmers that build third party apps for this thing. I’ve not yet begun to explore that. Some are free and some have nominal charge.

I am giving this 5 stars because it is a fantastic device; mostly easy to configure, sounds great, sounds even better when feeding an external DAC, and downright life-changing when it comes to home entertainment. I am tempted to deduct a star because of some aspects that appear buggy or hard to configure but I just can’t do it.

Creative Labs Sound Blaster Wireless Audio Transmitter and Receiver Bundle

Everything works and sounds great once I figured it out. The instructions that came with it made it sound simple, plug this here, plug that there and (viola!) you’re up and running. Don’t believe it. After checking the Creative website for troubleshooting tips (again, no help), I stumbled upon the answer on my own. Using Windows 7, I went into the Control Panel, then Hardware & Sound, then the Sound option, where I had to select the Sound Blaster Wireless card as the default sound option. That redirected the sound from my computer speakers to the Blaster transmitter. I had to then reposition my computer in my home office so that my kitchen (with its big appliances) weren’t directly between the transmitter and the receiver in my family room before the reception improved. But it does now work as expected. The lesson here is that, if it is made to sound simple, you can bet it is anything but. But if you know about changing the default playback device to the Blaster USB card, then make sure your transmitter won’t have big obstacles (like metal appliances) between it and the receiver(s), you’ll be fine.

Bose Wave Music System – Graphite Gray

I have mixed feelings about the newly designed Wave System. {Only the design, NOT the sound quality, which I’m sure is still excellent.}
I have the older model {Thank God} because after just 2 yrs, and that’s not very long when you consider the price. The CD player on my model with the old design started doing weird things.. It played when it felt like it. That’s the only way I can describe it. So I cannot imagine how angry I would be if I owned this new style & could not get my CD out of this thing if it malfunctioned!
Now, when I had my “issue”, Bose offered to “Re-manufacture” it for $125. At first I was insulted, but then I thought, “Wait a minute, for $125 they are not only going to fix the problem but they are also going to check and replace/repair anything else that may be going wrong with it so it “meets the quality standards of the Bose Corporation” & re-set the warranty.” I essentially received a “new” unit for $125.00 Oh, and they also sent me a postage paid shipping box to send it to them.
This happened 3 years ago and I’ve had no further problems with it. So 5/5 for customer service.
As for sound, I have owned many, many audio systems in my life, large and small. NOTHING compares to this system. Well, except for attending a live performance. You will put a CD in this “Little Plastic Box” and simply be amazed at the sound that comes out!
I recently bought the larger system. Strange as it may seem, The small system actually sounds clearer to me than the large {$1,200} system.
As for this new design. I have a piece of advice. Order a replacement remote along WITH your system. Always have a back up because you will not want to wait for a new one to arrive in order to use your expensive stereo system.
Personally, I think Bose has a lot of nerve removing the manual play buttons and forcing their customers to rely on their remote.
That’s why I rated it 4/5
5/5 for sound 3/5 for design {it is pretty, but it IS useless without the remote}

Bose Wave Music System – Titanium Silver

I have enjoyed my Bose Wave music system for just over a month and I am very pleased with its performance. This is the second or third generation of the iconic Bose one-piece tabletop sound system that is intended to make you think you are listening to a much more complicated and professional component system. And, to a great extent, it does just that–or at least, it is closer to a stereo component sound than to a stand-alone run-of-the-mill radio sound. It certainly features a deeper range of bass sounds than any other one-piece radio I have ever encountered.

Bose has pioneered its spectacular sound machines which seem highly defined by their innovative speaker systems which they refer to as “waveguide speaker technology”. This one-piece system produces a clear, natural, room-filling sound without the need of external speakers. It has a very innovative physical design with a small unintrusive footprint that sits well on a night stand or in the kitchen. I particulrly appreciate the Titanium Silver color which seems appropriate for any area of the home. It is simple to install right out of the box and has the FM/AM radio, CD player, and clock/alarm built in. There is an auxiliary input for an MP3 player or other alternate sound source.

I especially appreciate the alarm system that opens softly and gently rises in volume as you awake. It comes with a credit card size remote control; however, I purchased the larger backlit remote with a dedicated cradle that I use instead. All in all, this is an effective and very impressive one-piece tabletop sound system that I enjoy daily. It is a bit pricy, but ultimately, you get what you pay for.

Sonos S5 Zone Player and BR100 ZoneBridge Bundle (Black)

Just got the S5 about an hour ago. Setup couldn’t be easier. Step 1 – connect the power cord to an power outlet. Step 2 – hit the Mute and + button to get the S5 added as a new zone, Step 3 – hmmm….I don’t think there is one. Just hit play and enjoy pure bliss.

This is my 4th Zone player (see my other gushing review of the Sonos system on the Sonos bundle page), and anytime my wife asks, “how many of these white boxes you really need?”, the answer is always “one more”.

Portability is the key feature of S5. Moving it from Kitchen to backdeck is just a matter of unplugging the power cord and replugging at the new location. It’s all in one box. And the sound quality is not bad either. With all 4 zone players on party mode – some connected to very expensive Klipsch towers – I have ran around to compare the sound quality at various locations. The verdict – this little guy stacks up nicely against the big boys.

And the iPhone controller is not too shabby either. Don’t see the need to buy the new touch controller (CR200).

Sonos ZoneBridge BR100 Instant wireless setup for a Sonos system

I initially bought this because my router and my stereo were on opposite sides of my living room. It worked great and didn’t take up much room at all. After I moved, I was able to attach one of the ZonePlayers directly to the stereo, and I discovered I could use the ZoneBridge as an access point to provide wired ethernet ports at the other end of my house from my wireless router. I have a wired network printer that I can now put anywhere I want and use over the wireless network. Considering the price of other products designed specifically for this purpose, it’s actually a pretty good deal for that as well! Since other reviews make it clear that it works well for its intended function, I thought I would mention this unexpected bonus feature.

Sonos S5 Wireless Internet Music Player (Black)

I just purchased the s5 with a zone bridge and the CR200. The combination is absolutely amazing. Installation was easy and operation is intuitive. There is plenty out there on how these things work, so I won’t go into details on that. But I do have two observations to share:

1) In addition to the s5, I also picked up a NAS drive so that I could stream my 5000+ track mp3 library. After all, streaming my collection with a touch screen remote was one of the main reason I looked at Sonos in the first place. But, after setting Sonos up I decided to give Napster a try. The Napster/Sonos combination gives you access to 8 million tracks on demand. For example, Napster has over 60 Bob Dylan albums, which is pretty much his whole discography. If you want to sample the latest (obscure) music, Napster also has most of the albums Pitchfork reviewed this week–pretty neat.

So, despite my deep investment in my personal mp3 collection, it only took me a couple of minutes to realize that it was completely obsolete. Deciding between $5/month for a 8 million track library vs. a $200 NAS for my 5000 track library was a no-brainier. The NAS got packed up and sent back; my mp3s are now strictly for iPod use.

2) As an NPR fan, the other great feature I didn’t realize Sonos included is the ability to search and play archived NPR shows. From the Splendid Table to Fresh Air, it is all there on demand–awesome.

Logitech Squeezebox Radio Music Player with Color Screen (Red)

When the Boom came out, I wanted to purchase it right away, but the $300 price tag and the inability to truely make it wireless detered me. Now that the Radio is out with a lower price tag, battery capability and a color LCD, I was totally sold. I’ve had the Radio for about a week now, and I simply love it. Even the wife was jamming to it when I got home from work the day after I bought it.

So far I have only had one issue with it…I can not find a setting to set the Album Art size to full screen on the Now Playing screen. It says in the manual that it is under the Screensaver settings, but when I go there it doesn’t exist. I sent an email to Logitech support, but have not heard back from them yet. [Updated] Logitech just released a new software version that will correct this issue.

Another cool feature that I didn’t realize existed, was the ability to control the Radio from the web.

As far as sound quality goes, it is far better than expected. There is virtually no distortion even at maximum volume. I even plugged a set of Computer Speakers into the Headphone Jack and it didn’t make that much of a difference. The Base levels aren’t that deep, but they are there. I can put it in my livingroom and pump it up near max volume and hear it clearly throughout the house.

I haven’t tested the Wireless strength extensively yet, but I was able to hook it up in the garage (1 Floor below and 50 feet from the router) and the signal strength was near full.

Overall, I am very satisfied with my purchase and can’t wait to get the battery pack so I can just carry this thing around anywhere.

ZVOX Mini Ultra-Compact Single-Cabinet Surround Sound System

I bought this sound system because I was having difficulty hearing the voices on my Vizio television. Sometimes the background music would drown them out. So, I bought this ZVOX. It’s incredible! Now the voices are clear and the backgound music is still clear and crisp. It was too easy to connect (one red wire into the red connector and one white wire into the white connector). Even device-challenged individuals like myself will have no problem setting this up! My only complaint is the tiny, tiny remote. It’s very easy to lose! But overall, a very good system that produces clear, crisp sound!

Sonos S5 Wireless Internet Music Player (White)

Just got the S5 about an hour ago. Setup couldn’t be easier. Step 1 – connect the power cord to an power outlet. Step 2 – hit the Mute and + button to get the S5 added as a new zone, Step 3 – hmmm….I don’t think there is one. Just hit play and enjoy pure bliss.

This is my 4th Zone player (see my other gushing review of the Sonos system on the Sonos bundle page), and anytime my wife asks, “how many of these white boxes you really need?”, the answer is always “one more”.

Portability is the key feature of S5. Moving it from Kitchen to backdeck is just a matter of unplugging the power cord and replugging at the new location. It’s all in one box. And the sound quality is not bad either. With all 4 zone players on party mode – some connected to very expensive Klipsch towers – I have ran around to compare the sound quality at various locations. The verdict – this little guy stacks up nicely against the big boys.

And the iPhone controller is not too shabby either. Don’t see the need to buy the new touch controller (CR200).

Awesome product. Pure genius. Just get it.

Sonos ZonePlayer 90 Wireless Multi-Room Music System for Home Theater or Stereo

We bought two ZP90s for a couple of zones in a whole-house audio system.

We had been using an Apple AirPort Express for a few years to play our iTunes-managed stuff (which is probably 90+% ripped from CDs), and a connection from our cable box to our stereo to play music stations supplied by our cable company. All of this played in our living room and at the patio.

When we decided to expand to our kitchen and dining room areas, we did quite a bit of research, and decided the ZonePlayer would be a good choice. Because most all of our iTunes songs are not DRM-protected, we can listen to them on the Sonos (though it is a pain not to be able to play most of the Apple-purchased songs with the ZonePlayers). We’ve been using the Sirius internet trial, and will probably subscribe (not as much money as it might be, as we already have a subscription for the car). Also, it’s pretty cool to be able to listen to radio stations in Honolulu or Melbourne, Australia on occasion (we probably wouldn’t have found these without the Sonos). We’ve had very few problems with continuous streaming of Sirius or the radio stations over the Internet to our Sonos boxes; I think I’ve noticed just one time (over a few weeks) where it cut out, and then only for a few seconds.

We’ve used both the computer-based controller software as well as the version that works on an iPod touch. Both seem to be pretty stable, and are quite intuitive to use. We’ve used the alarm clock function (not accessible with the iPod-based software), and it works fine, though it is not terribly sophisticated (our schedule has a regular pattern, but doesn’t quite match the Mon-Fri, etc. options that they give you).

We’ll probably buy one more ZP90 to complete our system–it’s great so far!

Sonos CZ090 Single Room Promo Bundle (1 x ZP90 and 1 x CR200)

The Sonos CR200 Controller gives you instant, wireless access to all your musics and all your rooms at the touch of a finger. The full-color VGA display, ultra-responsive touch screen and dedicated buttons make it a joy to use. And it’s 100% dedicated to multi-room music control — pick it up or touch the screen and it’s ready to go. With the CR200 Controller in hand, you can quickly find and play music from your personal music library, Internet radio and the most popular online music services. Browse through albums and stations with a flick of the finger or search for your favorites by typing on the on-screen keyboard. Then simply touch to play. You can play the same song in every room or different songs in different rooms with ease.

SonosNet ensures that every CR200 Controller works wirelessly, all over the house, so you don’t have to run back and forth to your computer. Instead, you can choose exactly whot to play and where to play it from anywhere — sitting on the couch or cooking in the kitchen. Controllers aren’t tied to a specific ZonePlayer, so you can use any Controller to control the music — and the volume — in all of your rooms. And there’s practically no limit to how many Controllers you can have — one for every room, floor or music lover in your house. The Sonos CR200 also includes a Charging Cradle so it’s always powered up and easy to find.

Panasonic SC-HTB10 120W 2.1-Channel Slim Sound Bar System with 3D Pass Through (Black)

I was happy with my new Plasma TV (Panasonic VIERA TC-P46G25 46-Inch 1080p Plasma HDTV) but found the sound from the built-in speakers was not as good as I wanted. I didn’t want to have to use the “big” home theater receiver just to watch TV, just something simple. I tried the VIZIO VSB200 Universal HD Sound Bar but it was not compatible with the TV.

This Panasonic sound bar has ok sound. Much better than the built-in, but it’s no substitute for a full-powered home theater system. The best feature of this soundbar is it’s ability to use the Panasonic Viera Link and HDMI/ARC features. When you use an HDMI cable to connect the two, the soundbar works perfectly with the TV…no need for another remote to control power or volume, and the TV shows the volume setting and changes on screen.

Recommended for newer Panasonic TV owners who are looking for a simple solution to improve built-in sound, just make sure you use HDMI to connect the two.

Bose Wave Music System – Platinum White

I bought one Bose Wave Music System to compare it with my Henry Kloss 88cd and Cambridge Soundworks radios. It is better, period. I bought the Bose for use at work at Eagle Laundry, Horn Lake, MS where I have a Cambridge Soundworks radio playing all day. When I did the first comparison at home I could no longer enjoy the Henry Kloss at my bedside so I had to order another Bose for work. I could not part with the new Bose. Yes it’s that good. The clarity and definition of voices and music is open and undestorted. It’s as if the radio itself dissappears and presents only the wonderful sound of the music. Great features like auto dimming display which is fully adjustable continue to entertain even when the unit is off. No battery needed 48 hour memory in event of power failure saves money. Those 9v duracells are getting pricy. I was afraid I would not like to use only the remote for snooze control, but it has not been a problem. The ramp up wake-up alarm volume is also pleasing. This is a very refined, high quality, compact (it was smaller than I expected) multifuntion radio/cd/mp3 player. Very intelligent. The radio reception was fine with some adjusting of the power cord to get the stongest FM signal. My old radio required an external antenna. AM reception was great. My biggest problem was that one Bose Wave System was not enough. Also, Bose is a top drawer, first rate company. Just look at http://www.bose.com and you can see for yourself. Forget about the price for once and treat yourself to something special.

Grace Digital GDI-IRA500 Wireless Internet Radio Adapter Featuring Pandora NPR and SIRIUS

The Grace Solo internet radio does a great job connecting the world of internet radio to my home stereo.

The Solo is good looking and connects simply out of the box. Plug in the power, connect the standard rca cable to your stereo, turn it on, choose your home network and within 5 minutes you are listening to Pandora or one of the 17,000 radio stations. While Grace has many models of standalone table top radios, I like the Solo because it connects directly to my home stereo (or even powered speakers). The solo even has a headset jack.

When you first take the Solo out of the box, you see the Solo internet radio tuner, a power cable, manual, remote and rca cable to connect to your stereo. It uses WiFi to access the internet. Make sure you have Wi-Fi in your home, and that it is strong in the area you put the solo. The Solo does have a built in Wi-Fi signal meter to see how strong your Wi-Fi is. So if you put it on the bottom shelf of your stereo system and notice a weak signal you may want to put it on a middle or top shelf. The Solo works with any 802.11b,g or n router and has a built in 802.11g receiver.

After you connect to your wireless network (you will need your wireless WEP or WPA password to do this) and set the time zone on the clock, the Solo remembers everything (including station presets) when you unplug it. That is nice because no one wants to type their wireless password in more than once.

Once you are set up you can start searching for stations by genre or location or type the call sign of the station directly into the radio. You can do this via the remote control or directly on the unit itself. I like Pandora. In order to listen to Pandora you have to register your radio at Grace’s web site [...] . After you create a Grace account you enter in your Pandora user name and password on the Grace site and the radio is linked to your Pandora stations. Within a minute your Pandora stations are on the Grace radio in the `personal radio’ folder. Pretty cool. You can create stations on the Grace Solo, although I prefer to do that on the Pandora web site. Grace plays SIRIUS and Live365 as well but I do not have SIRIUS or Live365 VIP accounts so I can’t comment on that.

I really love the Grace unit. I get all my local radio stations #my FM reception is bad at my house but my favorite FM stations – most do these days – broadcast over the internet .. so I get those, Pandora, NPR and I even started listening to the BBC 4 which is kind of cool#.

Obviously I give this a 5 star. The only negative I would say is that on a few random stations they do not show the song metadata (they all show the station metadata). I’m not sure if that is because the station is not sending it or what. You get the station and song metadata for Pandora which is the most important for me. Oh – you can even thumbs up or down Pandora songs .. very of cool.

ZVOX 550 Low-Profile Single-Cabinet Surround Sound System

The ZVox Z-Base 550 is made to be a simple plug-and-play replacement for the speakers in a flat panel TV, and, as such, it is enormously successful. It offers tight, reasonably extended bass, simple integration due to its slim but sturdy design, excellent dynamics and a clean rich midrange for clear articulate dialog. For those who want “mo bass,” the unit offers a subwoofer output for use with a powered sub. It’s simple, unobtrusive and sounds great.

It does have some quirks, however. The remote is flimsy and doesn’t work particularly well, and there are no clear visual cues on the unit itself when you are adjusting things like volume or surround effect (PhaseCue). The first problem can be cured by programming the ZVox volume and PhaseCue controls into any universal remote, but the second issue is one you’ll have to live with. Fortunately the sonic improvements of the 550 over any TV’s built-in speakers are so substantial as to make these ergonomic issues fairly trivial.

In fact, even without a universal remote, if your TV has a variable audio output (many do), then you can simply use your TV’s remote to adjust volume. But do make sure to turn off your TV’s built-in speakers as they may interfere with the sound quality of the ZVox system.

As has been noted by an earlier reviewer, the ZVox isn’t really a surround sound system. The PhaseCue effect will give you a wider, more spacious soundstage but not much sound from behind (real or imagined). But really, if you want true surround, go with a real 5.1 or 7.1 channel system.

For what it is, the Z-Base 550 is an excellent performer and is sure to appeal to those for whom sound quality is of utmost importance. You can read our full review on Big Picture Big Sound’s web site.

Sharp HTSB200 2.1 Sound Bar Audio System

I just received this sound bar today. Took it out of the box and hook-up was a breeze! It looks bigger in the picture but it’s only 31 1/2 inches long, perfect for my TV and stand. It does come with wall mounting hardware also.

Once I turned it on, what a difference! The remote has different adjustments for sound depending on what you might be watching; movies, news, sports and just “normal”. As you might have noticed, it doesn’t have a “music” adjustment. I did put a CD station on my dish network and the sound was really nice, just not really loud like you might get from a regular receiver. If you want to turn your music really loud, this is not the unit for you. I tuned in on a movie, hockey game and the news, all sounded great with this bar! I cannot wait for football season!!! It’s a decent size for my room of 13 X 15.

This will do awesome until I can afford a receiver unit with 5 speakers!

Sonos ZonePlayer 120 Amplified Wireless Multi-Room Music System

I’ve purchased 3 of these ZonePlayers now, and use them with the iPhone app from Sonos. While they are not cheap, they are just fantastic and, like an Apple product, they *just work*. I understand a bit about the technology that goes into these — they are really just a internet-connected computer with an amp built in — but it is really amazing how simple and fool-proof they made this product. I continue to be blown away.

Logitech Squeezebox Wi-Fi Internet Radio and Wireless Music Player

The Squeezebox is a terrific device! The Squeezebox itself stores no music, you have to have another computer act as a “server” to contain the music files. This server runs software called “Slimserver” and it will run on any Linux, and it also works from Mac OS X and Windows (including Vista.) I have over 400 CDs converted to FLAC (lossless) and they stream perfectly from my server, even streaming the average 30mb FLAC files via 802.11g – no problems whatsoever. You use a remote control to work the Squeezebox, there are no buttons or anything on the device itself. You can also use a web browser to connect to the Slimserver software and perform all the same functions as the remote and more.

One drawback I found was when I tried running the Slimserver on Windows Vista Ultimate 32-bit on my AMD Athlon 64 X2 (dual-core) system with 2gb RAM. The web interface was pretty pokey and would become unresponsive at times, even while the Windows machine was doing nothing else. I moved the Slimserver and music to my Linux server, again an AMD Athlon 64 X2 system running Debian 4.0 and that improved it 1000%. The other drawback I have noticed is that file format is important. The Squeezebox hardware itself can decode MP3 and FLAC formats in hardware, right on the Squeezebox. But Apple formats (MP4, Apple Lossless, etc.) and others such as Ogg Vorbis must be decoded on the *server* using supplemental software. The two biggest problems with that is, increased load on the server and lack of ability to fast-forward and rewind within a track.

Regardless, I like this device so much, I’m planning on getting another one that I can move around where I like, while leaving the first one permanently at the main stereo.

Sharp HTSB300 2.1 Sound Bar Audio System with Digital Decoding

Inexpensive soundbar best suited for a medium size Aquos LCD TV. Crisp high’s and solid mid range characteristics, seamless operation with Aquos TV. Sound is improved tremendously with the addition of a small subwoofer such as a Polk Audio PSW111 or similar using the subwoofer output on the bar which can be controlled using the included remote. Dimensions are thin and long and well suited to 32, 37 and 40″ TV’s (the bar is 31.5 inches long). Well suited for smaller rooms or apartments, however surround sound effects are subtle. This unit will not fool you into believing sound is coming from behind you, however it does create an immersive sound field that fills the listening area and is a dramatic improvement over built in TV speakers. Great for someone who is avoiding complex audio systems and seeking a minimalist, but satisfying audio experience. If you have no intention of adding a subwoofer, get the less expensive HT-SB200, the difference between the digital and analog inputs is insignificant.

Myine Electronics IR001 WiFi Internet Radio Adaptor

I setup the unit and connected it to my stereo. Now it was time to connect it to my wireless network. Wait, the remote doesn’t seem to be working. Wonder if its DOA or battery not connected. Fast forward several minutes later and I notice that something seems backwards on the remote. With the remote in my hand I press the menu buttons to try and navigate the menu system but no response. Then I realize that the buttons seem backwards as the infrared window is pointing back to me when I have the remote correctly in my hand. Now I’m wondering if the top of the remote was installed backwards. I take a gamble and start pealing back the top of the remote (basically a sticky top with metal connectors that connect to the board to engage the buttons.) Thats when I realize that yes, the top of the remote was put on backwards and once I pealed it off and turned it around and got it to stick back on correctly the remote now works. Just a quality control issue at the factory so hopefully not something many will see but the Myine company should make note in case its happening to others.

Once I got the remote working all was well, i could navigate the unit and set it up on my wireless network. It found the different radio stations and it played over my stereo. Easy to setup if you are familiar with your typical wireless network setup. One thing I think they should change is that when you want to manually enter in IP address information etc you have to hit the button on the remote once for each ip number you want to move up or down. When you are in the 192.168 range this can get old. They need to change it so when you hold down the up or down button on the remote it scrolls through the numbers rather than having to hit it each time you want to move up and down.

One other item of note that I haven’t figured out yet. I have a number of wireless and wired devices on my home network. I notice that once I turn on the Myine radio I see activity on all my wired adaptors, as if the Myine is broadcasting something across all IP’s on the network. I thought it might be my router so I hooked up another router and still see activity on other network adaptors when I turn the Myine on. Will have to do some research to see what its broadcasting and why. No reason for it to broadcast something out to all devices as it just pulls a stream from the internet to the device.

For these reasons I can only give it a 3. Granted its a first version and it can be updated via the internet so maybe the vendor will resolve some of these issues. As for the device itself, it does what its intended for and it allows me to cancel my XM Radio that I had at home as this device offers the same quality and variety in music in my mind.

Grace Digital Wireless Hi-fi Internet Radio Tuner featuring Pandora and NPR (GDI-IRDT200)

Wow! What a sweet device this is for the even the not so techo-inclined. Installation was a breeze as there were only 2 cables to hook-up: power, and RCA jacks. I piped it into my receiver and hit the power button and bingo! it found my network over it’s installed handy dandy wireless network adapter (G). It prompted me for my password, which I entered (by turning the knob, which was kind of a pain) and it connected no problem. You can also wire your connection through the network cable slot in the back, however, no network cable was included.

After that, I chose internet radio and I had choices galore. The real beauty of this device is how you can personalize it. Got a Pandora account? Pipe it through this baby with ease. How about Live365? You can do that too. Want to search the internet radio via genre? No sweat. Absolutely amazing I tell you.

I created my Grace account, added stations online and podcasts and after unplugging the device and plugging back in (yah, they tell you to do that so it updates the streams), my customization was found on the device and away I went.

Here is the absolute frosting on the cake…I’m now streaming all of my music from my laptop and external hard drive to this device! Sort by genre, album, album artist, create a queue, you name it, this thing can do it. This kills the Windows Media Center that never worked right with my 360.

Who knew you could have so much fun with a radio??

ZVOX 325 High-Performance Single-Cabinet Surround Sound System

This is by far the best sounding, easiest to set up all in one theater system I have owned or heard, bar none. I have owned many 5.1 systems, and also two different soundbar systems (the highly rated Sony HT CT-100 being one of them), and the zvox 325 is the best bang for the buck.

Crystal Clear vocals, smooth bass, and the phase cue option is great for action movies (Wanted and Matrix Blu-ray sounded amazing, although music sounds much better with the phase cue turned almost all the way off.)

While the CT-100 worked great in my bedroom, vocals were still a problem, and the bass was way too punchy even at lower levels. Since I had just ditched and sold all my 5.1 equipment (yamaha 1000 watt receiver, boston acoustics bookshelves, and some older bose fronts) the last thing I wanted to do was run wires all over my condo, as well as have my fiance complain about space issues and how confusing it was for her to just watch tv through the internal speakers. I also did not want to drop thousands of dollars on other sound bar systems just because they had digital audio and hdmi switching capabilities.
My hdtv has 4 hdmi inputs, which is more than enough for me. I have my blu ray, wii, and hd cable all run through hdmi into the tv (except for wii, component), and the analog audio out to the zvox 325. I still do not buy the digital audio is always better bs, as this sounds 10x clearer than my ct-100, and can go twice as loud through a stereo mini jack! No, it is not true 5.1, but during movies I can hear background effects side to side, and most importantly, I can actually HEAR the dialogue. If there is one con, its the flimsy remote, but I can deal with it. I think zvox now has a customer for life, and for $299, I dare you to do better.

Bose Wave Radio II – Platinum White

The Bose Wave Radio II is easy to use, has top-of-the-line speakers and has a high-quality build. I use mine as a TV stereo speaker. The auxiliary input works for that function and what I like is that it doesn’t take up a lot of space next to the TV. Indeed, incredible sound for the size of the speakers. So why only four stars, not five? Because the Bose, for all the money it costs, is not a top radio performer. It has only average AM reception with its internal ferrite antenna and worse its FM relies on the power cord for what is truly a lame “antenna.” So as a speaker, the Bose is great but as a radio it is well below par. For hooking up to your TV, the Bose is outstanding. But as a bedside radio? No way. You would be better off buying a 120-dollar Sangean WR-2, a 100-dollar Boston Acoustics Horizon Solo, or a 100-dollar Tivoli Songbook for your bedside. But if you’re integrating the Bose into your TV home entertainment system and you don’t mind spending the money and you’re not fastidious about your FM reception, then you will enjoy the Bose.

Philips NP2500/37 WiFi Internet Radio Network Music Player with Rhapsody (Black)

I’ve been working from home a fair amount and have a netbook that has my music library loaded on it. I keep my music library on a netbook as opposed to an Ipod because I rip my music using a lossless format to preserve the quality of the sound (I love classical music and have top of the line headphones so want to preserve the detail of the original recordings).

When I’m home, even though I have my big stereo and could use the actual CD — I find that I’m spoiled with my playlists from my netbook and don’t want to have to get up and switch CDs all the time. I would hook my netbook up to a set of Klipsch 5.2 speakers and that worked pretty well but it seemed kind of stupid to have those speakers sitting next to my main home stereo system.

Enter Philips Network Music player. I can now access my computer music collection and play it through my home stereo system. I can even use a remote to control the music. Set up was a breeze with our wireless router and hooking into the amplifier of our system. Sound quality is even better than through my headphones or the Klipsch speakers — presumably because my home system is much much better.

I have played around with the internet radio some and that seems to work well. I particularly like the access to the XM station play lists. I gave the system 4 stars, though because using the internet radio features etc wasn’t as intuitive as I would like.

This is a near-perfect little system that I would highly recommend to anyone who wants to take advantage of all the hours spent ripping their music collection onto their computer and creating playlists just the way they want them. Price is very reasonable — especially considering the amount of money we have invested in our home system and our music collection.

Grace Digital GDI-IR2500 Wi-Fi Internet radio Featuring Pandora NPR On-Demand Sirius and iheartradio

This is my first experience with an Internet radio, so I cannot compare it to anything else except regular radio and the Sirius radio that is in my car. I was around before TV, the technology today never ceases to amaze me. I just remember when I was a kid listening to Superman on a small radio by my bed—that was a good as radio was.

I had very little problem setting this with my wireless router, I have a secure network and it took me several attempts to get the WEP key entered correctly as I was using the entire key-phrase on my Actiontec PK5000. I since changed it to something more simple on the ISP website—instead of 25 characters I now have 8. That was the only hiccup!

The radio scanned for available Internet connections and found several then found and recognized mine. I am now getting radio! I was overwhelmed by the number of stations available. You can select the genre; sports, talk radio, news, music type etc. and then check out the stations that are available in that category (more than I would want to count). After you find a station that you like you can enter it into memory, so that you can instantly go to that station, there are ten presets available. It will display the song title and performer or artist. The display is easy to read, the brightness is adjustable and it displays the time when the unit is off. This will also function as an alarm clock. The remote control is rather small and very easy to use, very helpful if you listen to the radio while in bed.

I am still exploring stations to find the ones that I like the most, just too many to chose from. I will not be using Sirius as I get that on Directv, but it is available. Pandora and Live 365 are also available, I have not been there yet as I have spent most of my time exploring stations that are already available. I live in the Phoenix area and I find the local radio stations on the dial too. I’m having a lot of fun with this radio checking out all that is available—-do I have too much time on my hands? I am retired and am finding this a great source of entertainment.

I would like to mention the sound. The speaker is adequate, certainly a lot better than what I listened to when I was a kid. It is ported through the back with the 5″ speaker facing the front. I hooked up a pair of my wife’s ear-buds—now I get the full stereo and a much richer and full sound. I intend to next attach it to our home sound system—I am just thinking that will be some kick-butt audio.

I would recommend this unit to anyone who really is into a music library and wants unlimited choices in radio and does not want to be concerned about reception problems.

Hope this will be some help to those who hesitate getting more involved in the Internet related field. It was really easy to set up and is providing much enjoyment–I have very limited computer/Internet experience compared to my grand-kids.

Sonos BU250 Multiroom Music System

I have owned the Sonos 250 bundle for a week now and it works like a charm!
It comes with an extensive owners manual,easy setup and most importantly it simply works.
I returned a Squeezebox Duet for a refund after 25 days it was a too problematic (constantly on the phone with tech support),the controler had too much lag time booting up from sleep mode.

The CR200 remote controler is an awesome piece of work it is robust (as is the entire Sonos system),fast and has a very sturdy rubberized build with a big bright full color screen,very nice.
The build quality for all the componets is top notch and I mean TOP NOTCH quality.

One thing to note…the 120 zoneplayer will not connect to a receiver only speakers as it has its own built in amp I made that assumption,not a problem my mini Onkyo receiver will find other duty around the house.All this is to say if you intend to connect to 2 receivers STOP and buy two Sonos 90 zoneplayers and CR 200 separately.
The sound from the built in amp is equal to if not better my my mini 60 amp Onkyo system.
The Sonos 90 zoneplayer in the bundle connects to my big Onkyo receiver in the family room again the sound is awesome and of course it syncs with the other room or plays seperate selections in each room if you desire.
There is another Sonos 90 in my future for my mini Onkyo.

All in all you cannot go wrong here Sonos cost more then its competition but is a better value and worth every penny.
I went the low road (Squeezebox) and it was full of bumps and headaches, dig a little deeper and save yourself some time and headaches Sonos is the way to go.

Grace Digital GDI-IR1000 Wi-Fi Internet Radio Featuring Pandora and NPR On-Demand

Having lived in large cities much of my life, I missed the variety of music programing in the mid-sized city we chose for retirement. This was a compromise we willingly accepted because the overall quality of life was much improved. Time-Warner broadband and the Grace GDI IR1000 has now given me the equivalent of a larger media market plus the rest of the world: symphonic music direct from London, Vienna, Moscow, etc. Gaelic And other Celtic music from the British Isles, authentic Chinese works from Beijing. It is all free and available 24/7. This little radio produces strong and steady sound even without a stereo hook-up which is available with RCA adapter included. The radio is a compact and attractive table model which is very easy to set up with your existing wireless router. Overall you can expect to spend 2+ hours exploring the choice of stations using the accompanying software to seek the music genres you prefer. Once setup with your selections, you have a lifetime to simply enjoy the music. I love to read another Hamish McBeth mystery book while listening to Celtic music from Radio Scotland. This one of the best purchases I have ever made from Amazon. While this is not a high end 7.1 sound system, it does produce excellent enjoyable sound. With new stations coming on line weekly, you can always add new music sources.

Creative Labs Xmod Wireless Music System with X-Fi Technology

The Xmod Wireless comes in 2 parts, a transmitter and a receiver. The transmitter connects very simply to your PC via USB and it functions as a USB soundcard, applying X-Fi sound enhancement to any sound or music that is passed through it. Compressed audio like AAC, WMA and MP3 files are upscaled to 24 bit quality and surround sound effects can be added.

You have to experience this to appreciate it. It really does make your music sound better. Sometimes the improvement is more subtle than at other times, but the quality X-Fi provides really shines when you connect the receiver end of the Xmod Wireless to a good set of speakers that you might have in your theater or family room.

So, on to part 2 of the package. The wireless receiver. This enables you to control and listen to your music anywhere you place the receiver in your house. Your PC music collection is streamed around the house with top notch quality and fidelity. I have my receiver connected to my theater setup and the sound is fantastic. You can purchase additional receivers if you’d like to play your music in multiple rooms.

Cool things about the package overall. The range is great and there is no lag. Plus, it just works. You don’t need to have your own network or anything running already. Just turn on the receiver and transmitter and away you go, nothing to fuss with. If you do have a network running, this won’t interfere with it at all. I think both units are stylish as well. They fit right in with high end equipment and they are pretty small.

You also get a remote for each side and there are inputs so that you can connect an MP3 player. With the remotes, you can skip tracks, pause tracks, turn on and off the X-Fi features, etc.

I don’t really have any negatives other than the price, but I still think it’s worth it. Sonos has products with similar features that cost up to $1000. Xmod Wireless gives you what you need with better audio technology for a lot less. It would also be nice to have a small display on the receiver unit so you can see what you are browsing.

Overall, Xmod Wireless is highly recommended. The unique combination of a driverless and simple to use USB soundcard with a high quality streaming device is an excellent way to introduce your PC to your home theater setup or to any room of your house.

Grace Digital GDI-IRD4400m Wireless Internet Radio Featuring Pandora NPR On-Demand and SIRIUS

This radio is an excellent product. It set up in a couple of minutes and has proven to be reliable and very easy to use. My single complaint is the headset and stereo jacks on the device. There is an AM-like static present when I plug in headphones or connect in my stereo. The noise on the headphones is ‘tolerable’, but the stereo connection was terrible. I e-mailed Grace Digital Radio Technical support with my problem. They replied and stated that I shouldn’t be having static on the audio output (I figured that out all by myself). They then suggested that I try alternative radio stations (AM and FM) and advise if I had a similar issue. I explained that the radio was not an AM/FM radio but internet and that all types of stations on the internet exhibited the same problem. They never replied back to me. I’ve attempted a couple of times to get a response from them to no avail. In one attempt, I suggested that, perhaps I should return the radio and obtain one from another manufacturer. Still no reply. In a word, customer support for this product – stinks.

Yamaha YMC-S21BL NeoHD Home Theater Media Control System (Black)

I first heard of Yamaha’s NeoHD when cruising the web looking for a receiver that my family would enjoy with my new Sony Bravia 46 inch flat panel and Sony Blu Ray player. I wanted better surround sound to go with our new Hi-Def Blu Ray movies, but I needed an easy to use system that everyone in my family could utilize. My wife (and youngest son at 6 years of age) could NOT work our `three remote’ system, and changing inputs from 1 source component to another was a nightmare for her and the family. From what I could tell from the Yamaha website, neoHD solves this problem which makes it the perfect product for me and my `remote challenged’ family.
I purchased the Yamaha neoHD, model YMC-S21, and once it arrived, I jumped on it quickly to get it set up. My teenage son helped me with the Yamaha setup guide – which although initially intimidating looking, was actually pretty easy to use. Within 45 minutes, I had connected my flat panel, Blu Ray player, Time Warner DVR (Motorola), and the 2 Yamaha speakers and subwoofer with color coded speaker cable that came with the package. Once connected, everything was operational with the one simple neoHD remote control in the neoHD box!
The setup was actually pretty fun. But, I had to connect 3 IR flashers that came in the Yamaha box. I had never connected IR flashers before, but it wasn’t too hard. The trick was finding the IR sensor on each component, but I had the users manuals and found the IR sensor quickly on the two Sony’s. The neoHD menu walked me through setting up my system by answering a few simple questions, and then I calibrated my room w/Yamaha’s YPAO microphone. Cool!
The neo had the remote codes already built in for the Sony’s, but I had to teach neo the remote codes for my DVR. I called Yamaha service for some help, and they suggested I utilize the Motorola Set Top Box code set first (right off of the on-screen menu), then learn the rest of the codes simply using the neoHD onscreen menu. Actually kind of fun – I liked the way neoHD walked me through the system setup! Not intimidating at all.
Now that neoHD is set up and working, my family really loves it – the surround sound while playing Blu Ray movies or watching sporting events is fantastic, but I am really happy with the simple onscreen menu for operating our entire system. My wife and all of my sons can select ‘Watch, Listen, or Play’, and using the simple up and down arrow keys, make their selections without my help. No more `Input’ selections, no more complicated remote controls that my family can’t use, and no more frustration!
Finally, my kids showed the neighbor kids how the system works, and now my neighbors told me they may get a neoHD also for their new flat panel! Yamaha has made something that solves a real need!

ZVOX 525 Low-Profile Single-Cabinet Surround Sound System

I have a 46 inch samsung (lna650), which in its self is a good tv with a great picture, but like most televisions is lacking in sound. The Zbox fills the room with much fuller deeper sound. If you are looking for better sound quality and do not what to spend big bucks for full surround sound, then I would say give the ZVOX a try. The only negative I have is the same as other reviewers. That being there is no display for as to where the treble/bass is set at or what the volume setting is. That is a bit at times annoying.

Bose Acoustic Wave Music System II – Graphite Gray

This is a great unit. I am a R&B lover. A lot of the times R&B is very bass heavy. This unit handles R&B quite well. I was under the assumption that Bose called it the “acoustic wave” due to this unit being perfect for more acoustically driven music. The BOSE rep said no, they named it that because of the type of technology. The technology is set up like an acoustic instrument. (i.e. a flute)
Bose’s trick is a third speaker inside the unit connected to 2 separate amps for the highs and lows.
The key to getting the best sound out of this unit is placement
Don’t place the unit too close to where you will be sitting. Place it farther from you – that way you will experience the TRUE sound of this unit.

For the size of the unit, it performs really well! It is a great investment and it is portable. Don’t listen or go by the negative reviews! Especially the gentleman or lady who went to the pawn shop to hear one…LOL

Cons: Pricey – but worth it – great for movies too!!!!!

Onkyo HT-S7200 (B) 7.1-Channel Home Entertainment Receiver/Speaker Package with Dock for the iPod

This htib is incredible. For a long time I wanted surround sound but I didn’t want to go with a crappy htib that only has 1 hdmi input. Finally I found this Onkyo model. So far the sound is great on games, movies, tv, and music. The video upconverting works decently, although I wouldn’t call it stellar.

My favorite things about this product are:
1) Ipod dock: It isn’t perfect, and you can’t see your playlists on the tv, but it’s great if you make a playlist or want to watch a video downloaded from itunes.
2) Sound quality is amazing
3) It’s fairly easy to set up. I had to snake a few cables through the ceiling, but it works great. It took maybe 2 hours to get everything hooked up plus do the calibration. All the speakers and wires are color-coded to streamline the process.
4) The calibration optimizes the system for your listening needs, depending on where you sit in the room, how far the speakers are from one another, and the height of the speakers.
5) 5 hdmi inputs: I can plug my PS3, 360, and cable box in, and I still have 2 more slots for future devices.
6) Upconverts video from composite or component cables to 1080i, 720p, or 480p depending on your preference. This is great for Wii owners, or anyone with a DVD player. The quality isn’t superb, but I see a noticeable difference from before I had the receiver.
7) HDMI carries both sound and picture, and you only need one cable to go from the receiver to the TV. This means that if you have component or composite cables hooked up to the receiver, you don’t need another set of the same cable plugged into the TV; it all goes through the one hdmi cable.

The one downside: The cables it comes with are fairly thin. I bought 100 feet of 16 gauge wire to hook up the surround sound and surround back speakers that are further away; I would recommend this. But for the front and center speakers, I just used the supplied wires. The distance from these speakers to the receiver is fairly short, so I wasn’t too worried about losing sound quality. The sound has been amazing.

If you’re looking for a home theater in a box, and you can afford to spend the extra 200 dollars to get this model over a Sony or a Samsung htib, I highly recommend this. It has everything you need and the value is amazing considering the price. All of the parts are sold separately as well, so they aren’t cheap parts designed just for this set. This is the best value htib out there, and the quality is top-notch.

ZVOX 425xs High-Performance Single-Cabinet Surround Sound System

I ordered an “open box” 425xs from ebay and got a good deal pricewise, so I figured why not give it a shot. As with most others who are looking into Zvox, I had no desire (nor did my wife) to have a bunch of wires spread around the room. I also didn’t want to have to set up a complicated system. I just wanted really good sound from my TV set, which my Mitsubishi 73 inch DLP TV wasn’t giving me. Out of the box, I had it set up in about 5 minutes. I couldn’t believe how easy it really was to use. The remote isn’t very good, and I would recommend that you get a universal programmable one that will make it much easier to operate the unit. Bottom line: you don’t realize how great the sound is until you turn it off and listen to your TV without it. I thought I would just use it initially for movies and sports, but now I use it 100% of the time. It’s not perfect, and sometimes I need to turn phasecue all the way off to hear quiet dialogue. However, I’d buy it again in a heartbeat.

Logitech Squeezebox Wi-Fi Internet Radio Receiver

I’ve been wanting a Squeezebox for some time but didn’t want to pay for the controller. The Logitech Squeezebox software has long been open source and has a large and very active online community that is supported by the company. I looked through their forum (http://forums.slimdevices.com/) and found that one of their senior members wrote software allowing the Squeezebox Receiver to be configured WITHOUT the remote control. A link directly to the software, as reported in a comment to a previous post, can be found at http://robinbowes.com/projects/Net-UDAP. It’s not officially supported by the Logitech, but I was able to get my receiver configured with it in less than an hour.

One caveat though; you should be a bit tech savy if you are going to go this route. The software is still in beta, has not been *offically* released (by reading through the thread on this topic (http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?t=43722&highlight=network+configuration), mostly because the guy who wrote it hasn’t had time to package it up). So, currently the software is only available through an online subversion repository, which if you haven’t worked with before, could take an hour or two of fiddling around to get repository software and check out the code. The configuration itself is done via a perl command line, so windows users will need ActivePerl. Check out the documentation, it’s pretty straightforward.

So if none of that scares you, this is an incredible solution for wireless streaming music from a computer to a stereo for 150 bucks.

Logitech Wireless DJ Music System

I have been waiting for a reasonably priced alternative to allow me to play my music collection from my computer on my home stereo system. Up to this point I had been plugging my iPod directly into the system, but the solution was less than ideal.
The Wireless DJ is perfect. It was unbelievably easy to set up. I assumed I would go through the typical process when I add a new gadget to the PC – plug it in, get frustrated that it doesn’t work, play around with things, still doesn’t work, finally stumble upon the right setting or call tech support hold-o-rama.

Instead, I loaded the software, plugged in the output device, connected the input device to my stereo, and that was it. I swear I did the whole thing in 10 minutes.

The remote is excellent. I love that the remote includes a mute button and volume control, so I essentially can use the remote as my only control of the stereo now.

It is great that it works with iTunes and the sound quality is very good. Only down side is that my PC is fairly far away from my computer and as such I occassionally get a hiccup in the bluetooth signal that causes a burp in the music. But it is minor enough to not bother me, and well off set by the positives of this great new gadget.

Logitech Squeezebox Wi-Fi Internet Radio Remote Controller

I have had this product for about a month. I had the original squeezebox and wanted to add this controller (it came out one month after I had purchased the original squeezebox). It took me less than 10 minutes to set up and has worked extemely well for the first month. Occasionally, it will drop the signal when I have put it down for a while, but it takes less than 30 seconds for it to find the system again. I am very happy with the product and would recommend it to others. I use it with a range of up to 100 feet from the wireless router.

Sonos ZonePlayer ZP80 Add-On Player

Great add-on device to my music system, bringing internet music and digital music from my computer to my theater system. It seems expensive for for merely converting wifi radio frequency to RCA inputs to the home theater system. Especially when I realized I needed to buy another bridge device to connect this unit to the home network. But it is simple to install and use. It is unobtrusive and clean.

Klipsch CS-500 2.1 Home Theater System with DVD Player

Klipsch is a recognized high quality name in home theater audio equipment, so I was very excited to receive this package. While, yes, you are not getting a blu-ray player with this system, you could expect to actually spend that $1000 retail price if you decided to purchase a system equal to this with a blu-ray player. As a secondary bedroom or even primary sound system, I found the quality to be superb for the price.

For a sub-$300 2.1 system this little guy really did well competing with our larger more expensive 5.1 Yamaha system. While the Yamaha will beat this system just because 5.1 will always sound better than 2.1, the sound from the speakers were crisper, clearer, and the subwoofer could nearly rattle the walls using it at full power. You still got the feeling of surround sound from this system.

For those who are not technologically inclined, this was not difficult at all to set up. I have had no problems with the DVD player thus far, and Klipsch has noted that they have fixed problems with a previous model.

If you’re budget is under $300 and this is a second system for a smaller room or bedroom, I say go for it. If you have more to spend and this is going to be your main theater or living room sound system, I would look for a 5.1 or 7.1 system that you can hook a stand alone blu-ray player into.

Panasonic SC-BT230 5.1 Surround Sound System

I received this item about 4 days ago. I absolutely love the sound. Watched some of Star Wars Episode III and the sound is incredible. Just like being in the theater. However, one of the reasons I purchased this item is that Panasonic’s website lists it as having Pandora. This is not true as of the time I am writing this review. I wrote Panasonic about this and was told that there is no exact date yet when Pandora will be online. Also, for those of you interested in the twitter that it supposedly comes with. No twitter either. As for the youtube, that’s pretty cool. Netflix is sort of lame, as you only get access to the instant queue and no recommendations. We have a PS3 with Netflix and the Netflix service on that seems to be more advanced.

Also, on Panasonic’s website, it lists this model as having a 3.5 mm jack so you can use your MP3 player. Not true. The back of the unit has a composite audio in. Which I wasn’t that upset about since I have a converter but still…

As for the ARC, you need an ARC supported TV for it to actually carry sound from the TV to the unit via an HDMI cable (this is listed on Panasonic’s website). I didn’t realize that when I bought it so now I have to get an optical cable. Not a huge loss.

I did consider returning the unit based on the above but am so pleased with the sound, however, that I am keeping it.

UPDATE

Not sure why I didn’t notice this before but there is no dedicated button for subtitles on the remote. Also, there’s no headphone jack. To listen to a blue ray through headphones, we have to mute the system and listen through our tv.

UPDATE 6/09/10

Pandora is here now with full functionality – ability to add stations right from your TV- and Twitter soon to follow. For sports fans, Fox Sports is coming soon and there’s also tagesschau german news channel–in german.

Polk Audio RM705 5.1 Home Theater System (Set of Six Black)

I usually look at these reviews to help me with my purchases, so it’s only fair that I write one to help someone else. I just purchased this speaker system and I’m blown away. The sound is so clean and crisp and very bright. I have this connected to a Yamaha RX-V661 and the sound is amazing. This is perfect for a medium to large room. If you want a BIG sound without the bulk and the high cost, I highly recommend this. The set up was easy. The brackets provided also comes with a paper template for easy wall mounting. The screws/hardware are also included and looks great. If you’re using a high gauge speaker wire, the +/- inputs (holes) on the back of each speaker are a very small and somewhat difficult to connect. Other than that, I’m going to really enjoy this system.

Sony HT-CT150 3D Sound Bar System

I was skeptical I admit

I moved out of my house into a much smaller townhouse and I had to give up my Klipsche 2 series 5.1 system…..I HATED giving up surround sound. I have been bouncing back forth between this one and the CT350 model. I was scared that this wouldn’t be as loud as I would like it……..wow was I wrong. The room I have it in is only 11 X 15 (system on short side) and this thing is fantastic. It has a max volume of 50 and I find 24 to be more than enough. Is it true 5.1….no… but it has great surround effects and very full sound…..you will feel like the action is going around you which is what we all want anyway isn’t it?

I tested it with Avatar Blu Ray….. Lord of the Rings ROTK Disc 2 DVD……Invictus ON Demand (for the accents…..hard on TV speakers)…..was blown away each time

I turned up the center to +5 to bring out the dialog a little more and set the sub at +2

I also mounted the speaker ABOVE the TV which I feel really helps to bring out the surround effects because they don’t get lost down near the ground around the furniture

It is a little slow switching inputs but that is to be expected……the remote will only control Sony products….so if you have non Sony stuff invest in a Harmony remote

If you are planning this for a really large room and you are going to be sitting 17 or more feet away maybe you should consider the 400W 350 model….. but for a normal room you will be thrilled by this unit.

I couldnt be more happy with this purchase

Onkyo HT-S3300 5.1-Channel Home Theater Receiver and Speaker Package (Black)

I was skeptical before ordering this system as I ordered Sony HTSS360 (another popular and high rated entry level system) before and its sound was nowhere acceptable as the speakers were weak and sub-woofer was doing all the job, creating a woofy and very narrow ranged sound.

When I saw the 2010 Onkyo systems, I initially pre-ordered HT-S5300 but it being not released yet gave me some time to research and take a close look at ht-s3300 as well. After looking at its specs, I decided to give it a try and I am glad I did as it saved me $200. I am also happier with smaller and less-intrusive speakers of ht-s3300 compared to 5300 and having two less speakers to wire across the room. Now let me try to give you some opinion on the system and its sound.

First I must say, it is good looking system with shiny black speakers and a boxy but classy looking receiver. Its sound is much better than I expected especially it being an entry level system. Instead of going over all its specs, I will try to answer most people would have in mind and also list the important pros and cons.

PROS:
-Has a HDMI repeater and do the switching, so you only need HDMI cables without extra audio cables.
-Supports all the new formats and it does pretty good job at decoding HD audio formats.
-I was initially hesitant about the audyssey audio correction system it is equipped with since it doesn’t have a microphone for auto calibration. However, it turns out that the audyssey system is factory calibrated to the specifications of the speaker set it comes with and it does pretty good job of acoustic correction. The only adjustment I needed to do was measuring the speaker distances to the optimal listening area and manually entering it to the receiver set-up. I also did some minor adjustment on speaker levels, but it is a matter of personal taste.
-On screen display is great to see the menus, volume level and setup options overlayed on the tv screen.
-All the necessary options are provided in the menus without going into unnecessarily detailed options. Pretty customizable yet easy to use and configure options.
-No background noise when not in use, or any sonic booms on power on/off.
-Speakers are surprisingly good for this price level, I am even impressed with the passive subwoofer as its power is adequate when paired with the other supplied speakers and it produces clean basses.
-Finally the sound is on par with systems I listened before which cost in the range of $400-$800. So, I consider this system a pretty damn good deal. I don’t think you can get anything for this price that would produce a better or even comparable sound.
-It runs cooler than the previous Onkyo receivers I have encountered.

CONS:
-it is 5.1 system, but it was actually a pro for me as I don’t like too many speaker around and I personally find 5.1 enough to create satisfactory surround effects. Most media out there is 5.1 anyway…
-It is not for large rooms, don’t forget it is 660W system and the subwoofer is passive with 130W output. My living room is about 15X15ft and its output is enough but for rooms that are considerably bigger, I recommend another system (perhaps ht-s5300).
-Only 3 HDMI input, so all the inputs are used up on mine. If I buy another device, I have hook one of them to component inouts.
-No video inputs on front side of the receiver, just a stereo audio input for connecting portable media players.
-No automatic acoustic correction, so it has to be done manually. If you upgrade your speakers then you cannot use audyssey function as it factory configured for the specifications of the speaker set it ships with. You have to turn off audyssey if you are using different set of speakers.
-The sub-woofer is passive, but I found its size and power is adequate for small/medium rooms. But if you are bass freak and you are not living at an apartment (otherwise, you will have angry neighbors), then consider ht-s5300.

If you are in the same boat I was and trying to decide between ht-s3300 and ht-s5300, I can confidently recommend ht-s3300 for $200 less as long as your living/entertainment room is small/medium size. But, ht-s5300 is no doubt a superior system with better speakers and a more powerful receiver with more inputs and I don’t see any reason for not choosing that over this if you can afford it and have space to accommodate its much bigger and 7 speakers (its center and front speakers are too big and intrusive for my taste and there is no way to hide its sub-woofer, I couldn’t even completely hide this systems sub-woofer).

Sony BRAVIA DAV-DZ170 Home Theater System

Purchased this system for our family room which is a little on the smaller side. The sound is rich and full, the subwoofer is better than expected, and overall we’re very pleased. Good TV sound and excellent DVD and iPod sound. Moderately priced as well, which is a bonus. *NOTE: Fiber Optic audio and HDMI video cables are NOT included and must be purchased separately.* The system does include a cable for basic video connection. The Fiber Optic audio cable (recommended for best quality audio) is about $20-25 retail. [If purchasing the fiber optic cable, make sure to remove the small clear covers at each end of the cable before trying to connect it to the receiver and cable box or TV. Otherwise...yikes, you've plugged the jacks]. The remote is small, very handy and easy to use. Front connection for an iPod, which works great. There’s an antennae for FM radio which we haven’t connected yet so I can’t comment on that.

Set up is easy but time consuming, so as with most electronic set ups buyers should allow enough time to run the wires, position the rear speakers, attach everything and run the tests. There’s fairly generous amount of speaker wire [wish they could have included about 5' more for the back speakers]; depending on how the room is arranged buyers might need to figure out creative ways to run the speaker wires for the back speakers. If it’s impossible to properly place two speakers in the back of the room there is a setting which adjusts the sound for a set up where all speakers are located in the front.

The system comes with a 1-2-3 Step easy set up guide and also the more detailed instruction booklet. Speaker cords, input jacks, and speakers are color coded and clearly labeled. There’s a disc included to run as part of setting up the speakers and testing the system. For the most part the instructions are self explanatory and easy to follow. However, some of the steps are slightly more confusing than necessary because the drawings of various components [e.g. TV, Cable Box, Sony Receiver] aren’t labeled. The person setting the system up can clearly see what needs to be connected, but it’s not always clear to what component [cable box or TV].

We now use this system exclusively and keep the speakers on our TV turned down. We will probably purchase this system for use with our basement TV as well.

Sony BDV-E370 Sony 5.1 Blu-ray Disc System [3D Compatible]

Just got this all-in-one Bluray theater today. In general it’s a nice bargain (especially at the GoldBox deal from Thanksgiving). I use it in our Living Room to replace the TV speakers, so the sound is definitely an improvement. I probably wouldn’t use this in a true “home theater” since the subwoofer isn’t powered. But for general Bluray listening in the Living Room and for Netflix streaming, it sounds just fine. It does what it claims and has a lot of good streaming options (Netflix, Pandora, etc). Picture quality is excellent. Bluray player is similar to Sony’s BDP-S370 player.

However, unlike all of the reviews (on the Internet) of this unit that I read before purchasing, this unit does NOT have DLNA support for streaming music from your local network servers. In fact on page 35 of the included manual in the section “Playing files stores on a DLNA server” it specifically says: “Except for BDV-E370 U.S. models”.

This is extremely annoying. It’s obvious to me that this device *used* to have this feature, which is why all of the older reviews mention it. My guess is that it was removed in a software update. Yes, I did the network update and now it says that no other update is available. I didn’t check to see if DLNA was available before the update. The related setup page for DLNA called “Connection Server Settings” in the “Network Settings” screen is also missing.

Unless you get a really good price deal on this, I’d recommend the BDV-E570 instead which has the DLNA support and also includes the WiFi adapter. I had a wired Ethernet, so the adapter wasn’t a big deal. But if I had known that this unit really didn’t support DLNA, I probably would not have bought it. Now that it’s already installed and working, I’ll probably keep it.

Maybe we can convince Sony to put DLNA support back into this device. It’s obviously just a software issue and I’m annoyed at Sony for not including this and am annoyed at the reviews that all say it has it when it doesn’t. But that’s why I’m giving only 4 stars.

Coby CSP96 300-Watt 5.1-Channel Home Theater Speaker System (Black)

Nothing less than a nice solid set of cheap “powered” speakers. I bought these because I’ve been wanting something a bit more powerful than my TV’s speakers. For the price the product is five star. My TV is in a smaller room and these sound great when set up properly. You will need some type of output (receiver, DVD player, etc) that puts out a 5.1 signal to achieve surround sound, but you can also just run a standard 2 channel stereo signal through it as well and still get a nice sound. I bought these specifically for use with my Xbox 360 (which puts out Dolby 5.1 via optical cable). I have the optical out on the console running into my Tritton AX360 5.1 system and the surround out on the Tritton running into the speakers. Great purchase, great sound!!

Yamaha NS-SP1800BL 5.1-Channel Home Theater Speaker Package

For the price I didn’t expect much from these speakers, and when I got them they definitely exceeded my expectations. I have always been a fan of Yamaha audio equipment and when I was looking for a decent (cheap) set of 5.1 speakers for my Onkyo SR606 I came across this set and thought I’d give them a try. Much to my pleasure they work great! I am only using 3.1 right now but the sound is far superior to any pre-packaged HTS that I have looked at.

PROS – Price, quality of build, sound quality
CONS – plastic casing/style (not the greatest for displaying around your house) This is a very minor con!

Sony HTS-S370 Surround Sound Home Theater System Black

Just wanted to share a few points about this product that weren’t clear to me before I purchased it.

1.) The receiver does not decode Dolby True HD or Master DTS HD. HOWEVER, the receiver accepts LPCM signals. So, if your Blu-Ray player can send an LPCM signal and it has onboard decoders for those codes (and I believe they all do), then you can still experience everything Dolby True HD and Master DTS HD has to offer. If you’re lost at this point, I’ll put it this way. If you have a PS3 and this sound system, you’re getting the full “HD” sound offered by Blu-Ray discs. Just make sure your PS3 is set to send Blu-Ray audio via LPCM, not Bitsreaming. Also, you need to connect your PS3 with HDMI to make this happen.

2.) The sound from this system is excellent. 1000 watts is plenty of power for your typical home theater. In fact, it’s more watts than most home theater systems on the market currently offer. In my experience, a good rule of thumb is “more watts the better”. This is true even you don’t plan on cranking up the volume.

3.) The rear speakers on this system are not automatically wireless. That is, this system is CAPABLE of wirelessly transmitting to the rear speakers, but in order to do this, you need to purchase a transmitter to plug into the back of the receiver and an amplifier for the rear speakers. Sony calls this system AIR. So, in case it isn’t clear, this system is only “wireless ready”. I haven’t purchased the transmitter and the amp needed, but installation looks like it would be very simple. It’s nice to have that option in the future.

The only downside to this system, as I see it, is that the remote is overly complicated. Lots of buttons and I only seem to use about 8 of them. If my home theater had more Sony BRAVIA compenents, then maybe all of the extra buttons would be of more use. Overall, however, the bad remote is definitely not a dealbraker. The positives of this system greatly outweigh this one minor negative.

Onkyo HT-S5300 7.1-Channel Home Theater Receiver and Speaker Package with iPod Dock (Black)

I ordered the system on Thursday morning and got it delivered on Friday by 1pm thru Prime members 2Day shipping. Definitely amazed by the delivery service earlier than expected date.

Easy to setup the system in my home which took less than an hour to set it up. Comes with very easy to understand setup guide.

Watched The Dark Night on it and I must say the I was surprised (even sounds great with onkyo’s crappy speaker cables) with the surround sound quality. Subwoofer is a monster. I was doing research on Onkyo’s HTIB systems for last few months and I must say that this system serves all my purpose blu ray, digital video to upscaled HDMI videos.

Cons: None so far for this product.

This comes with iPod dock so that’s also a plus for my need. The system comes with a crappy speaker cables same as Onkyo’s other HTIBs. You must buy a good quality speaker cables 14 or 16Gauge depends upon your room setup.

Onkyo’s HTIB for this price range STANDS OUT among any other HTIB. It includes 4 HDMI input with video and audio over HDMI, and a new HDMI 1.4 3D video, audio channel return support.

LG LHB335 1100-Watt Network Blu-ray Disc Home Theater System Black

I purchased an LG television last fall and have really enjoyed it. When I needed a new combo system I found this LG system that fits my needs. It is the only one in this price range that allows you to hook up already existing speakers. Most units have those little plastic plugs that make you use their speakers. My U-verse DVR has an ethernet plug so the internet hookup was easy. It has an iPod dock and you can control your music playback onscreen. I have really enjoyed using the online capabilities. Netflix is adding more movies all the time and you can even view photos saved with Picasa(Google). Creating your own radio station using Pandora is icing on the cake. All-in-all, a great unit for the money.

MartinLogan MLT-2 Home Theater System (Black)

I’m no expert in speakers but for me these get the job done nicely. It took me a while to find information from martinlogan, but I did. Their product website is here: [...] . A simple Google search doesn’t bring it up.

About the speakers:

Pros: IMHO
* lots of noise/ Small package
* Using the screen on the receiver (not the tv) tuning the speakers is pretty easy (though not as easy as if it was on the tv)
* Martinlogan
* an impressive sub-woofer for the price

Cons:
* I’ll come back to this If I find any

Overall:
They aren’t extreme movie theater quality speakers but they are EXCELLENT for [...].

Energy 5.1 Take Classic Home Theater System (Set of Six Black)

I have recently purchased this system paired with a Denon AVR1508. And all I can say is WOW!

I originally purchased the POLK RM705 package, and kept them all of 2 days, brought those back and got the Klipsch Quintet III paired with the KSW10 subwoofer, on both systems all the satellites’ did was nothing but scream at you and the subwoofer distorted at low to medium levels regardless of what I threw at it, music or home theater (KSW10 not quite as bad). Needless to say they went back as well, I know I am picky! I was going to give up on the 5.1 package and go get bookshelf speakers or towers.

However ENERGY has changed my view on the 5.1 kit! ENERGY has also made very nice high end speakers for a while now, which have always been very efficient, crisp and clean, and they have done it again! Music and Home Theater purely sound superb! The satellites’ do not scream which helps the subwoofer compliment the overall sound, hence not missing the mid range. This helps in accomplishing the full sound that I believe we all desire.

I do only have one small complaint. I do have to turn the subwoofer down when jamming normal music (stereo 2.1) or there will be slight distortion from the subwoofer, however for the money and the fact the 5.1 systems are pretty much entirely designed for movies… top notch! And a slight turn of the knob once or twice a year when the time calls for really cranking up the volume, not a huge issue!

As far as home theater no subwoofer issues there! The subwoofer produces extremely clean, tight, deep bass, which makes any explosion or thunder shake the couch. The satellites’ in any listening configuration are absolutely unbelievable, clean, clear, crisp, enabling you to hear fingers actually sliding over the guitar strings as they are being strummed, incredible!

Do yourself a favor and go listen to these if you are in the market for a 5.1 system and make sure to bring the check book as you will need it, I did!

I hope this helps as this is a fairly new HT system and there are not a whole lot of reviews out there, but the ones that are, seem to agree with mine!

Sony BDV-E770W Blu-ray Player Home Entertainment System [3D Compatible]

I purchased this system for our bedroom as an inexpensive way to bring Blu-ray and surround sound. It is amazing what is packed into such a small package. The big plusses for me were the wireless rear speakers and the wireless connectivity for Internet content and firmware updates. It certainly doesn’t have nearly the connection options you’ll find with traditional A/V receivers so you’ll have to make sure your television has plenty of inputs for all your gear. However, in my case it works perfectly. The speakers are small, but together they put out an impressive sound. There’s even an included mic for auto-calibration of your speakers. Another bonus is that the Blu-ray player is upgradeable to 3-D when the patch is available. For a quick and easy feature-packed home theater in-a-box solution, you can’t beat this system.

Sony BDV-E570 Blu-ray Player Home Entertainment System [3D Compatible]

Right out of the box, it was very easy to set up as long as you the patience to find a way to run the rear speakers with hiding the speaker wire. Also, the speaker wire to the the rear speakers is too short to place them far enough back to optimize the 5.1 sound.

I Wish that the subwoofer was powered. The passive subwoofer gives good sound, not great sound. The 1,000 watt system easily fills the large family room with quality sound.

The system has the minimum amount of inputs, but lacks an audio out-put to run a set of B speakers to another room in the house.

I haven’t tried the WiFi conection to the internet yet. I’ll update my review after I try the WiFi feature.

Overall, It’s a good system for anyone looking for a complete Blu-Ray video & DTS 5.1 audio right out the box. I got the best price from Amazon (Amazon stands behind any product that you purchased fom them) and it was deilver in two days. Other than the rear speaker wires (it’s easy to add additional wire) and the lack of an audio output, I’m happy with the system.

If anyone has found a way to get a stereo audio output from this system, I’d be very interested in knowing how you did it.

Onkyo SKS-HT540 7.1 Channel Home Theater Speaker System

I spent a good 2 weeks looking for a surround sound speaker system for my home theater. I was only looking to spend around $300 and I really wasn’t expecting to find anything great at that price. But then I continued to hear wonderful things about Onkyo speakers and I had to try them out.

I purchased them here on Amazon for $280 ($230 + $50 for shipping). The speakers were nicely packed and arrived farily quick. The speakers not only look great but they feel as though they’re high quality. No one would ever guess that these speakers cost under $300. Especially when you hear them. They sound amazing.

Movies sound great along with video games, (xbox 360). The speakers let you hear all the action, and the sub-woofer lets you feel every explosion. Onkyo’s SKS-HT540’s Surround Sound Speaker System is a treat to listen to and you will not be dissapointed with this purchase. A 7.1 speaker package with a 230 watt powered sub-woofer for under $300? That’s a great deal!

Only downside, (and I’ve read this in other reviews about these speakers) is that they don’t sound great when listening to music. They don’t capture the full sound that tower speakers would. Which makes sense, so if you’re going to listen to music with these speakers, you may feel a little dissapointed. If it’s just movies and video games… You’ll be happy.

I will say this about hooking up surround sound speakers (and this goes for all of them), when you first plug in everything, you have to configure your receiver to get the best possible sound out of your speakers. For instance, treble, bass and speaker size are going to dramatically change the sound of your theater. So, if when you first hear these speakers and you’re not satisfied with the sound… You didn’t set them up right, because my system sounds incredible once I dialed everything in.

Yamaha YHT-393BL 5.1 Channel 500 Watt HTiB System (Each Black)

When I saw this receiver in the store, and then looked at the price (when compared to other “comparable” systems), I assumed it was going to sound like a tin-can. I’m so glad I was wrong…!

The receiver itself has a wealth of features, bells, and whistles. If you will be listening to your iPod through the system, go ahead and spend the money on the dock. The sound quality is excellent and you can control the iPod via Yamaha’s excellent remote. One of my favorite features (being a classical musician/pianist) is that you can choose a sound mode that makes your music sound as if it’s being heard in two of the best concert halls in Europe (Munich/ der Musikverein in Vienna), and some famous/typical American venues (The Roxy Theatre, The Bottom Line, Chamber, Cellar Club, etc…). It’s really a neat effect!

I like that I can run all the HDMI signals from my DVD player, TV box, etc… through the receiver, so I never have to switch inputs on my TV, or run 10 different cords up behind the wall! The receiver does all the work of switching inputs– you can even select a different audio input to pair with your HDMI signal just in case (like with a DVI to HDMI cable from your computer) there is a separate audio source.

If I had to brag on just ONE thing about the system, It would be: The subwoofer. The speakers that come with the system give a clear upper range, but if you were relying on them for the bass frequencies, you’d return the whole system the same day you bought it. Enter: the subwoofer… This speaker can punch out the lowest lows, even at the lowest volumes. Don’t let the size fool you, either! It will fill your whole room with great, booming, clear bass!

To conclude this glowing review: If I were adding another TV in my den, I would buy another one of these systems to complete that home theatre as well! If you’re looking for a great quality product that works and sounds even better than you’d expect, just hit the “Add to Cart” button now…

Panasonic SC-BT330 5.1 Channel Cinema Surround Home Entertainment System

Purchased this for a large den vacation property. The BluRay video system works surprisingly well. The audio is good for the price. It doesn’t compare to Denon, but neither does the price. The wireless USB adapter works well. We use it a lot for Nexflix etc & the streaming working very well. Pandora Radio included in the system was a pleasant surprise. I’d not used Pandora Radio, but find it to be a great source of back ground music. The Panasonic system plays it very well. Sounds like an add for Pandora….but it is impressive, so much so I bought a Samsung BluRay player with Pandora to use for my home Denon system. With Denon receiver & Klipsch speakers Pandora is truly impressive. The reason I give the Panasonic a 4 is the Subwoofer isn’t powered and quite wimpy. I replaced it with a Polk Audio PSW10 Powered Subwoofer from Amazon, and it completed the setup nicely.

Samsung HT-C5500 Blu-ray Home Theater System

I spent a solid week researching which surround sound system to buy when i stumbled upon this one. I was also looking at the samsung bd 1250 which was rated pretty good buy cnet. Im guessing this system is an upgrade since its the 2010 model so i assume that means its better. It was delivered yesterday and after getting everything set up im happy to say im satisfied with my purchase. i was sort of worried since there were no reviews out yet due to it just being released. It sounds really good. I haven’t had a chance to play around with the online features yet, but im planning on using the built in netflix streaming. Be careful though if you plan to mount the speakers on stands, since it only has a keyhole in the back instead of screw holes.

Onkyo HT-S7300 7.1-Channel Home Theater Receiver and Speaker Package with iPod Dock

This setup is by far the best for the money. When I originally unpacked it and put it in the cabinet, the amp put out so much heat that the sound would go off for a few seconds after about 2 hours of play. I called Onkyo who said they never heard of such a thing and I should do a hard start(push power and vcr together) and if that didn’t work I should drive the amp 30 miles to the nearest repair center. In the process of playing with the amp I pulled the cabinet away from the wall and pushed the amp to the back of its shelf so that I could get to the connections. Every time I did that, the intermittent sound loss stopped. I realized that the shelf above the amp did not block the amp vents when the amp was pushed to the back of the cabinet. I removed the shelf above the amp which gave the amp about 6 inches to vent the heat and from that time on there has been no sound loss and I have kept the amp running for 10 hours at a time. There are suggestions not to block the vent but it is a safety not a performance suggestion.
I would recommend this product to a friend, but not to insert in a cabinet without proper ventilation.

Samsung HT-C6930W 3D Blu-ray Home Theater System

I had a 10-year-old rear projection TV (it died), so I went with the HT-C6930W home theater w/ 3D Blu-ray player and paired it with the PN58C8000 58″ Plasma TV. A very good combo indeed! With respect to the Samsung Home Theater unit – lets talk about the ‘pros’ first…

Overall the components are all ‘shiny black’ and look futuristic without being gawdy. The Blu-ray player is the brains of the system, and it has a beautiful blue-glo when turned on through touch-sensitive icons that serve as buttons. Most programming is easier done through the remote.

There are many settings available on the Blu-Ray unit to tune sound and video. You won’t be wanting there. Many of them will work ‘just fine’ in Auto, so you don’t have to be a genius out-of-the-box. Still, you have the option of tweaking them.

Let’s talk about the speakers – the front towers line up well sitting with your TV at eye-level. The center speaker sits well just below your TV screen, and the sub-woofer on the floor. The remaining 4 speakers provide your rear pair and side pair -OR- you can put one pair up-front to get ‘vertical’ sound. One of these pairs is ‘wireless’, sort of. The Blu-ray player has a transmitter card that sends the signal to a plugged-in reciever unit. The speakers still have wires running from the reciever to each speaker. Useful if you don’t want to run wires from the front to the back of the room. Otherwise they aren’t much of an improvement over wired. That said, they still sound very good, and ‘no’ you can’t wire them into the Blu-ray player directly because there aren’t any inputs for them on the player, so wireless components had better work. I only bring this up because on my first unit the wireless system didn’t work, so I had to bring the whole home theater back in exchange for another one. Ignoring that – the speakers are very good.

The Dolby LPZII audio feature is amazing – beautiful 7.1 sound and even with HD cable most all of the stations take full advantage of it.

Cons – let’s talk about them:

I already mentioned that the wireless speaker are just 2 of them, and there are still wires. Of course, to power speakers without wires you need each speaker to have it’s own power source (either a battery, or a power cord). So, it does eliminate running wires from front of room to back, and that’s helpful. Too bad my first wireless components were bad, and I worry that in the future, if they fail again, I’ll have to return the whole system (not just the wireless) for repair.

Some of the video and sound settings seem to fight with each other. They have a feature to level sound when switching TV channels (so the volume won’t suddenly increase on you), but that turns off the LPZII feature. Similar thing with video. But, this is the exception, and most all features don’t fight with each other.

Overall, this is a great system, and it integrates well with the latest flat screen TVs, plays Blu-ray well, and even works with the Samsung 3D glasses (I got 2 pairs and ‘monsters vs. aliens’ 3D for free because I bought both Samsung TV and 3D Blu-ray player as a combo). They should just include this ‘starter kit’ with every 3D Blu-ray system. That will get more people to buy 3D movies.

Summing up – this is a great system, just hope it doesn’t need service because it’s a monster to return. And they should make the 3D glasses part of the package.

Onkyo HT-S9300THX 7.1 Channel Home Theater Receiver and Speaker Package

I love this system – great HDMI switching, but it took a few days to get the sound settings configured the way I wanted them. The auto-setup process worked fine, but left the bass response far too low for my preferences. Easily fixed, however – once I found the right menu.

One word of caution – this unit is HEAVY – the box is huge, and weighs about 90 lbs. The first one I received came in with the box almost crushed in half… I thought there was no damage, but found scratches on the front panel of the receiver. I called Amazon and they shipped a replacement to me. It did not arrive in 2 days (although I am a prime member); the 2nd shipping company took their own sweet time in getting it delivered to me and picking up the old one.

The new one came in in perfect shape – I have noticed that it overheats when watching a DVD and with the surround sound cranked up – I have ordered cooling fans for it to alleviate that problem. Although I felt like I had adequate space between the receiver and the top of the open-faced cabinet it sits in, it does still get a touch too hot. Other than that, I have no complaints! It sounds and looks great and does everything a home theatre in a box should do.

Bose 161 Bookshelf Speaker System (Black)

Admittedly I’m a music lover, not a technophile. I’m more interested in Charlie Watts than I am in watts per channel. But my ear is well tuned and I know what sounds good. It would seem that there is some Bose backlash out there; perhaps in response to the Rolls Royce reputation it’s carried through the years. I don’t know, and frankly I don’t care.

I will tell you that I bought my pair not as part of a surround system but as bookshelf speakers for my small home office and I couldn’t be happier. They’re attractive, have a low profile, and provide total range at all volumes. I tested them in the store with CDs that had lots of challenging highs, sizzling cymbals, that sort of thing. The definition was clear as can be. When you crank them up the sound holds together beautifully, no mud, no distortion. I find that solo piano is another good way to test speaker clarity, I went with The Koln Concert by Keith Jarrett and the results were mesmerizing.

As far as bass response is concerned, good grief, what’s the fuss? Even at low volumes I can hear Mingus plucking the strings, when I listen carefully I can even hear him dropping ironic hints. As to the higher register, that’s where the clarity of these speakers really shines, Stephanie Mills soars and swoops like an angel.

Then of course there are those irresponsible moments when I simply must blow off a little steam. Out comes the Coltrane, Ayler, Dolphy, Hendrix, Winter, Tower Of Power and up goes the volume. The desk toys start dancing because everything in the room is vibrating. Even then, these unassuming monsters deliver like tomorrow might never come. I’ve held minority opinions in the past and I’ll hold another here, as far as I’m concerned these speakers are fantastic and actually under-priced.

Boston Acoustics TVEEM20B TVee Model 20 Home Entertainment System (Black)

I bought this item as an impulse purchase,was sick of turning up the volume of my Sony Bravia up to like 65-70 just to hear it.Read the reviews and got to admit I was a little hesitant,but I ordered it anyway.Overnight I was self doubting the purchase and contemplating just returning it when it came in.Sooo… glad I didn’t.This thing is awesome!Very easy to set up and programmed it to my cable remote.The sound is unreal.Deep rich bass and the voices are so much clearer and easier to hear.I have it turned up to #5 for normal viewing and #10 is borderline too loud.Best $220 I’ve ever spent,absolutely no regrets.One tip…hook it up to the tv itself and not the cablebox because unless you turn off the cablebox you’ll get the program sound even if the tv isn’t on.(at least the way mine is set up…cable on 24/7 I just on/off the tv)

DVD Home Theater with 1080P HDmi Upconversion

I bought this on the internet, but Model HTS3372 at Wall Market is the same and even better value now. We had trouble understanding what people were saying in movies on our LCD TV, before we bought this. Now we can hear clearly at much lower sound level. The kids can now watch a movie and hear it while we play cards just a few feet away in the kitchen. The remote controls the iPod also so we can skip to the next song if we want. The included DVD player works great. The small speakers make it easy to install without taking over your whole room. The small wire easily slides under the carpet without showing so that you can install the rear speakers. The plug in on the end of the speaker wire can easily be removed with a toothpick and then replaced after you run the wire under the carpet. My wife who is not into such things normally just loves it because it sounds so good and is easy to hear even when turned down low.

Onkyo HT-S6300 7.1-Channel Home Theater Receiver and Speaker Package with iPod Dock

I just received this system last week and spent the better part of the Labor Day weekend setting it all up along with my new projector and screen. I paired the speakers with the Sanus speaker mount system to hang the front, rear and center channels. Another reviewer has already detailed the differences between this model and the next cheaper model below so I won’t go into that. I would say I think it is work the extra $100 or so to get this one over the S5300 and am glad I went that route for the extra features.

It did not take long to unpack and set up into my entertainment center. I had already pre-wired my home theater room with 14/2 speaker wire to where all the speakers would go so set up went quickly. The auto setup for the speakers was a snap and the system sounds great. I have a satellite receiver (very old model with old connections only available) connected via composite cables and a PS3 for BD DVD/gaming via HDMI. The output is connected to an Optoma HD20 projector via the HDMI out. Once I read the instructions more clearly on how to configure the one input for the composite cables I quickly cleared a problem I had with audio but no video output when using the satellite receiver for TV. The picture looks great with the upconvert and now I wonder if I want to upgrade to HD TV receiver in the near future to maximize the potential of the system. With the BD DVD the picture is also fantastic and the sound is perfect, making for a great home theater experience. I do not as of yet own any Blue Ray DVDs, but have tried a few regular DVDs which look great. The iPOD doc is a handy bonus which also works and sounds great.

I had pre-wired the room some time back and only wired it for 5.1 so I am currently not using 2 of the speakers. I may add them in sometime in the future when I get more time and find a way to do it without making too much of a mess of the room. As it is, with just the 5.1, the sound is great and I have no complaints. I would have given it 5 stars, but as another reviewer mentioned, the system does get hot. I have not had any problems with the system shutting down however, and just notice when I put my hand in there to check it out of curiosity. I hope that it doesn’t become a problem in the future, but I also do not have much experience with these types of systems as this is my first home theater receiver/sound system. I still have not played with all of the many, many features available by the system as I must admit I do not even understand them all. But out of the box with very little adjustments on my part it works great and easily met all of my expectations. I am pleased with the purchase and would recommend it to others.

Samsung HT-C550 Home Theater System

This is a great, great home theater! I went to Wal-Mart with the sole idea of buying the Philips HTS3372D/F7 for half the price of this one. However, they were out and this was the only one they had left… and I was desperate. Installing my new home theater (which took only minutes), I was a little underwhelmed. I’ll start at the auto calibration. Now in order to begin the calibration you must hook the microphone into the front and place it where you commonly sit. Sounds simple enough, right. Well, yes and no. The speakers then proceed to blast you with the MOST annoying static “sounds”. The whole process takes about 3 minutes. This wouldn’t be too bad if it actually worked the first time. Most of the speakers couldn’t be read the first time and I had to redo it about 5 times til I got it just right. So now that its all hooked up, its time to mess with the settings. This is where I had the most problems. Samsung has kind of embedded the settings in the remote and while not really the fault of the machine its a real pain to access. Although, to be fair to the home theater, it had it all in the manual (which I only skimmed). So in other words, make sure you read the manual! Now that everything is as it should be, it’s time to test it out. In order to get the best sound possible, I connected it to my PS3 with the Digital optical cord. Now let me say that this particular Home Theater has excellent sound! I used to have difficulty hearing what was being said in the movie, but not anymore. Everything is crystal clear. However, I was surprised that the Bass didn’t feel as strong as I thought it should. That all changed when I put in The Relic. I was completely blown away! The sound was scarier than the movie! It felt and sounded like the monster was in my room! My floors and walls were shaking from the footsteps, the roars and wheezes chilled my spine. The point: make sure you have quality audio movies. It’s now been about 2 months and everything is still working and am still loving my favorite impulse buy. While setup was a little tedious the sound more than makes up for it, I would recommend getting the Samsung HT-C550 DVD Home Theater to anyone with the money.

LG LHB975 1100-Watt Blu-ray Home Theater System Gloss Black

I really wish I could have given this system 5 stars. It seems like I waited forever for the LG LHB975! I am a first time Surround Sound owner. I started on my quest for an LG LHB975 when I was at Best Buy listening to the LB LHB335. The LHB335 was nice, but I wanted a bigger sound. I also wanted the rear speakers to be wireless. A little bit of research and I found that many of the earlier LG “Home Theaters In a Box” had really positive reviews. I also found out about the LG LHB975 and all of it’s wonderful features… I just had to wait a little while for it to be released. And then the first box I received was a bit of a mess (very unusual in my experience with Amazon) so the product didn’t work. Fortunately, Amazon has a great return policy, so I had my next, fully functional LHB975 before I even had a chance to pack up and return the original. I have had A LOT of fun with this system already… watching movies, watching TV with 5.1 sound, watching Netflix, listening to music. And with all of the features this thing has, I am just getting started! Really, I could go on and on and on about all of the things I love about it!! And I haven’t even used all of it’s functions yet!! Not sure if I’ll ever be able to fully explore all that this thing does!

So, let’s list what’s keeping it from being 5 stars:
– A little bit of static in the rear speakers – more noticeable when the TV programs have less than ideal audio (not 5.1), and at really low volumes (6 or less… and the volume on this thing goes all of the way up to 40!)
– Noise out of the rear wireless receiver (for the wireless rear speakers). There is sometimes an annoying hum that comes out of the wireless rear receiver. It is not often enough or loud enough to be really annoying (once again, more noticeable at lower volumes) but it is there. However, there is really good range on the receiver and it does NOT require unobstructed line of sight, so you can move it away from you (or other listeners) a little bit and it is a lot less noticeable.

I list the above just as a slight warning. I know I only listed mostly the negative, but let me be clear: I already absolutely love this system… and the sound. It is not perfect, but it is definitely great!!

Klipsch HD 300 Compact 5.1 High Definition Theater system (Set of Six Black)

I bought these to replace my old surround sound speakers. The sound is amazing, no problems with the sub-woofer either(as mentioned by a previous reviewer.) For the price I paid,(purchased a couple of days after Christmas on Amazon)and the quality sound these small speakers put out, I couldn’t be happier. The set up was easy, I like the speaker wall mounts, you can adjust them sideways, but not up and down. After I installed them, all I had to do was tweak them some with the settings on my surround sound receiver. Also, I accidently dropped one of the speakers pretty hard as I was setting it up, and it still works. So that shows me they are made to last. Do yourself a favor, if you don’t have surround sound, give these speakers a try, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Samsung HW-C560S Home Theater System

This receiver comes with a 6 Speakers-set (as shown); and, the sound is remarkably good. Only thing, I don’t like, is that I seem to have erroneously believed the rear speakers were wireless, but so far, I have been unable to figure out how; and, folks at Samsung USA, were of no help, because they are not even aware that this Samsung theater set, is even out yet (their site, says: “It’s Coming”)— seems, that Amazon.com, is among the first to have received this new Samsung product line, so far. My satellite TV engineer that installs and configures my samsung and other such products —- is very pleased with the simplicity of this speaker system and how well it integrates with my other Samsung products via HDMI and even component hook-up. Very low cost, but excellent receiver and speakers system to use with the more modern Samsung Plasma / LCD Wide Screen HDTVs and Samsung (Samsung, for benefits of the HDMI CEC feature) or other modern components with HDMI connections. For Samsung users, there’s likely no other modern 5.1 channel Stand-a-lone Receiver/speaker system of this superb quality and price, so thanks Samsung, and also thanks to Amazon.com, for being among the first to have received this new Samsung system.

Bose Companion 5 multimedia speaker system – Graphite/Silver

In the computer store, I had some doubt as to whether these tiny little speakers would have good sound quality. After all, they are roughly 2 inches tall x 6 inches wide (not counting the woofer), and for many years, I used Boston Acoustic stereo speakers that were roughly 2 feet tall x a foot wide. I needn’t have worried. I easily hooked these speakers up to my computer and the sound system is awesome! Far better than those Boston Acoustic speakers that were state of the art in the `80s, and better than the 7 year-old Labtec speakers I’ve used (which are pretty good.) I can’t detect any distortion in the sound, and it has a 3-D feel to it. Music sounds fabulous on it. Highly recommended.

Electrohome ELE-HTB920E 5.1 Channel Surround Sound Home Theater Speaker System

Well worth the cost. Simple but effective, has AM/FM tuner and a DVD player all in one unit. The wires for the different type of speakers are all color coordinated so installation was easy and it sounds great! More enjoyable watching movies with the surround sound, it really does make a BIG difference… Have my television hooked up to it so can listen to television (i.e. football games) in surround sound too!

Coby DVD938 5.1-Channel DVD Home Theater System with Digital AM/FM Tuner (Black)

This system is wonderful for a starter set. If you’re a college student, new to surround or looking for something simple for a smaller room, this is a great choice. The biggest plus about this system is that I can hook up my Xbox (RCA hook up or digital). Keep in mind that If you hook it up with RCA you can’t get surround, but the stereo sounds amazing. I was afraid of Coby from all bad reviews on other systems. This one really exceeded every expectations. Very clear sound, great price and a great DVD player make this perfect.
I’m 21 and live in an apartment so the rooms aren’t that big. I have a 100 sq. foot living room. This system is just right. When you finish setting it up (took me about 30 min, running cables and all) you need to put in a DVD like Lord of the Rings to test out the sound. If you leave everything at the default you’ll notice that there’s almost no bass and the center speaker is WAY over powering. Play around with your setting for a while, you CAN get bass out of it, just look through the menus.

Coby DVD765 5.1-Channel DVD Home Theater System (Black)

I purchased this system for $39.00 brand new. Sure, the bass isn’t all there, but it does become better when you’re watching a movie with lots of bass. The speaker wires are short but you can get more speaker wire to make it work. I liked that all the wires, ( speaker wires ) and ( rca jacks ) are color coded or have tags identifying where each wire plugs into.
I think the system sounds okay. You CAN control the volume while watching TV. I don’t know what these other reviewers are talking about. Maybe they didn’t connect it correctly. There’s a switch on the back of the subwoofer that indicates, “TV” “DVD”. You must slide it to the appropriate position. Your TV will need a red and white rca OUTPUT for this feature to work. ~common sense~
The remote control is probably the worst thing about it. You have to aim the remote directly at the dvd player and no further than about six feet away. That’s the trouble I experienced anyway. Even with new Energizer batteries.

LG LHB535 1100-Watt Network Blu-ray Disc Home Theater System Black

Pros:

- Easy to setup
– Easy to use & navigate
– Finds wireless network automatically
– Finds DLNA servers automatically (mine running on XP in another room)
– Runs you tube well enough to be entertained.
– Entertainment renting is smooth and effortless.
– Blu Ray disks run well with no skipping
– Streams Xvid and Divx flawlessly
– Receives speaker wire rather than proprietary connectors
– Speakers are decent and never break up at loud volume
– Instant DVD/BRay startup and eject/open tray
– iPod works in both onscreen mode and iPod interface – your choice.
– Good speaker/theater presets
– Excellent support with a phone number on unit!

Cons:

- Interface is slow and clunky
– Can’t eject a dvd/BRay without disturbing what you are watching
– No option to change resolution in YouTube
– No direct input links on remote – must scroll to get to desired input
– Has some trouble deciphering High-Def Directv at times from HDMI input
– Remote not universal – weak
– Speakers are mediocre in sound quality – only decent at low volumes
– iPod door feels flimsy but never broke
– Hard to navigate interface w/out remote
– Rewinding and forwarding a DLNA stream slow and unreliable

Training:

- Took 15 minutes to train 12 year old son.
– Too 1 hour total to train wife

Build Quality:

- Light and plasticy
– Decent weight – middle of the road
– iPod door feels it will break off one day
– Volume know tough and precise
– Disk tray thin – vulnerable
– Speakers OK – not to light
– Remote solid with nice sheen – not the normal matte black
– Well packaged and documentation good

Overall Recommendation:

- Compare’s well to dedicated components
– If you need an all-in-one Receiver/Disk/iPod unit its a go.
– Get the lesser model if you don’t need wireless or 2 HDMI ports.
– For the price I could not build a Media PC to do all this does.
– Good for those who like the rental streams

Klipsch HD Theater 1000 5.1-channel home theater speaker system 700 Watt (total) – black

My HD 1000 set is coupled with a Denon 890 AVR. I purchased the speakers and receiver to replace a Bose 2.1 Acoustimass III 2.1 setup and a Sony STR DE 845 with a failed protection circuit.

The speakers are in a 10×20 space, with seating on one long side and tv on the other (i.e., viewing space is shallow and wide) with a wall on one side and an open L-shaped room on the other, with the subwoofer against the one side wall.

The Audessey MultiEQ calibration on the Denon significantly changed and clarified the sound. The calibration resulted in asymmetrical levels but perfect balance at the listening position. The sound is very crisp with great imaging in both stereo and surround modes. The subwoofer, calibrated with its gain at midpoint, ended up at -9.5db. What seemed to be a low value when listening to test tones turns out to be exactly right: powerful, clean bass (as judged by The Roots and SNL via Dolby Digital), but no artificial boominess or rumbling from voices. It is amazing how many commercials use very low frequencies to get attention, something the little Bose subwoofer missed entirely. Stereo music programming via FL+FR+SW (2.1) mode is richer and warmer than I expected.

About the only disappointment–and this is not the fault of the HD1000s or the receiver–is that I am now aware of just how much variation there is in source material.

I would have love to have heard it side by side with the 300 and 500 models, but there was no such opportunity locally. For the size space I had to fill, I would have purchased the HD 500 but the HD 1000 became available for a slightly lower price. The 1000’s slightly larger subwoofer is probably not going to fit cleanly on the bookshelf, but I think my wife and the cats are getting used to it.

These speakers are wonderful, but I strongly recommend a receiver capable of frequency calibration. The sound quality is noticeably inferior when set flat. (Again, no fault of the speakers). When coupled with the right receiver–especially one with active calibration–the HD 1000 gets my recommendation.

Harman Kardon HKTS 20BQ 5.1 Home Theater Speaker System (Black)

At first I was skeptical about these speakers but then listening them in a local store and comparing to some floorstanding speakers that were 4 times more expensive left me scratching my head. I actually liked the sound produced by HKTS 20BQ better. The middle and upper frequencies are very clear while more expensive brands (I will not name them here as I do not want to create a flame ) produced some more or less noticeable “tint”.
After that “audition” I could not help but buy the speakers for my home TV. I also have some huge old Fisher speakers, still I prefer listening HK.
I must say that the lower end could be improved. I just watched “300” and noticed that Xerxes’ very deep voice on a few occasions would be intermittently caught up and dropped by the sub-woofer creating some disconnected effect. This does not happen however with music or sound effects. I probably have to look if my receiver (Yamaha RX v667) will allow me to adjust the lower crossover frequency to fix this.
On the side note the speakers look very attractive, much better than pictured on the photo. I have cats at home that like jumping on and scratching new things, so I am glad these speakers have metal grid instead of fabric.

Bose CineMate Series II Digital Home Theater Speaker System

I have a friend that wanted me to go with him to look at and buy a surround sound system for his LCD TV. I never thought much about “theater in a box” systems, I have a Sony 7.1 AV component system with Polk Audio speakers myself. We went to Best Buy so we could listen to the different systems. Sony’s system with Blu-ray built in had no bass and sounded lacking. Samsung was the same, as were all the other brands in the $400 – $600 range. Then we came to the Bose. I’ve gotta say, I was very surprised. The bass was rich and full, balanced by the sound of the 2 front speakers that filled your ears with a surround sound ‘feel’. Not to mention the fact that you can set it up in about 10 minutes. I’m not saying that it sounded better than my system, but in its class, I believe that it’s the best of the best.

LG LHT854 1000-Watt DVD Disc Home Theater In a Box

i made a review of the JVC THG30, and that it is good system, but i saw some reviews on this and decided to get it and compare the two, here are my opinions which i hope helps on your decisions. i agree with the reviewer above about it is a very good system. on looks, all the speakers and the subwoofer have a piano gloss finish, also including the main unit in the front. the speakers are wall mountable all except the center channel speaker. there one auxiliary input, one optical input, ipod input, usb input and a 3.5 mp3 input. it also has a ipod stand included. it has a hdmi output for 1080p upscaling, progressive scan, component, composite video out. a very good tuner and an universal remote. now, how does it sound? the sound is amazing, nice vocals, clear highs and very good bass. the system is very loud, meaning you don’t need to turn up the volume almost all the way to hear it. LG just amazes me what they make and this is no exception. this unit is now my main system now. what about the JVC, even though it is a good system, i returned it, why, more options on the LG, better sound because of its preset eq, and the bass is more, i like bass and if you do, this is your system. very highly recommended, way to go LG.

Polk Audio SurroundBar 50 Surround System (Single Speaker Black)

I got the SurroundBar 50 last week after a few days of research. If you’re researching for single speaker surround sound solutions that means you cannot run wires in your room thanks to the landlord or your wife (welcome to my world hehe).

You have couple of options when you’re looking for a single speaker solution for your home theater project, and I was down to Yamaha and Polk Audio. Between the two I chose Polk Audio over Yamaha because (A) Yamaha requires a perfect 4 wall room so that sound can bounce back off the walls and create the surround sound effect, which I don’t have (cathedral ceiling, staircase in the middle of the house so no back wall and side walls are far apart.) and (B) Yamaha costs way more. Don’t get me wrong, Yamaha is awesome from what I read on Amazon and on other sites, but SurroundBar/SurroundBar 50 plus a decent subwoofer cost less than a Yamaha (which has an integrated subwoofer).

To pair with my SurroundBar 50, I bought a Velodyne Minivee 10 subwoofer. It was a bit of an overkill in my situation. But I wanted to spend a bit more and get a great sounding sub in case I wanted to build a better home theater one day. You can pair SurroundBar 50 with any Polk Audio sub out there. PSW111 is a good one for example. I have an Onkyo A/V Receiver and an Onkyo DVD player. The setup was fairly easy. SurroundBar 50 comes with the audio cables ready to be hooked up between the bar and your receiver. Everything is color coded so you can’t really go wrong here. I hooked up an RCA audio cable between my receiver and my sub’s line level inputs. Total setup = 1 hour or less.

After configuring my receiver to use the new bar and sub, I tested the surround sound with Matrix, Gladiator and Pitch Black DVDs. SurroundBar 50 produces the “enveloping sound” as promised. I still need some adjustments to do later but so far I’m pretty impressed with what I have. The SDA technology Polk Audio offers does a great job. This product will NOT give you a true 5.1 surround sound experience, so if you’re an audiophile this is not for you. This product performs really well in creating the 5.1 effect. In Pitch Black you really hear those flying creatures moving around and in Matrix it’s a pleasure hearing bullets flying by and ricocheting.

Overall I’m very impressed. I’m just happy I was able to setup a surround sound system under an hour and without running wires going through walls and furniture and carpet etc. Your experience may vary from mine so go to your local electronics store and give this a test. If your wife is like mine who is against speakers and wires around the room then SurroundBar might be the solution for you too. :)

JVC TH-BA1 Soundbar System with Wireless Subwoofer

You should know that a soundbar is not replacement for a home theater system. You are not going to the full impact bass and big room filling sound with a soundbar. What are you going to get? Convenience, simplicity and, if you set your expectations right, pleasing sound.

The JVC TH-BA1 delivers high value performance. It’s an attractive, well built unit which provides sound that will probably put your TV audio to shame (it did mine – a Panasonic Viera plasma). The wireless subwoofer is a little muddy and undefined but does not overpower or boom. The unit has no variable crossover control but the factory setting sounds very balanced. You just plug it into a wall power outlet and follow the extremely simple pairing instructions and you are up in less than a minute.

The 2 surround settings are very subtle and natural sounding, avoiding that fake effect of many units. There are 2 optical inputs, so if you are not using HDMI this could come in handy for game consoles, disc players or DVRs. The small remote has the basic controls, plus the ability to control the relative loundness of the the center and surround channels, and the subwoofer. For you Tivo owners, the JVC codes work and you can control volume with your Tivo remote.

I choose this JVC unit over the Polk and Boston Acoustic offerings. I’d be curious to hear those units, but am very satisfied with the JVC. I recommend the TH-BA1 to anyone who wants to upgrade their TV sound without the expense and hassle of a full blown home theater system.

RCA RTD3133 DVD Home Theater System

As I write I’m enjoying this system very much for it’s value and sound. I purchased the “RCA home theater system RTD3131 E” at 130 Watts of power for $70 bucks (plus tax) at [...]. This model was the closest I could find to my model on Amazon.com. I find this to be a bargain for all that you get with it. A DVD Player to boot with a surround sound system. I didn’t even buy this for a home theater system but as an amp for my turntable. I use the DVD player as a CD drive. I’m very happy with this purchase. I just hope it doesn’t break anytime soon ;-). I got a lot for my $$$.

JVC TH-BA1 Soundbar System with Wireless Subwoofer

You should know that a soundbar is not replacement for a home theater system. You are not going to the full impact bass and big room filling sound with a soundbar. What are you going to get? Convenience, simplicity and, if you set your expectations right, pleasing sound.

The JVC TH-BA1 delivers high value performance. It’s an attractive, well built unit which provides sound that will probably put your TV audio to shame (it did mine – a Panasonic Viera plasma). The wireless subwoofer is a little muddy and undefined but does not overpower or boom. The unit has no variable crossover control but the factory setting sounds very balanced. You just plug it into a wall power outlet and follow the extremely simple pairing instructions and you are up in less than a minute.

The 2 surround settings are very subtle and natural sounding, avoiding that fake effect of many units. There are 2 optical inputs, so if you are not using HDMI this could come in handy for game consoles, disc players or DVRs. The small remote has the basic controls, plus the ability to control the relative loundness of the the center and surround channels, and the subwoofer. For you Tivo owners, the JVC codes work and you can control volume with your Tivo remote.

I choose this JVC unit over the Polk and Boston Acoustic offerings. I’d be curious to hear those units, but am very satisfied with the JVC. I recommend the TH-BA1 to anyone who wants to upgrade their TV sound without the expense and hassle of a full blown home theater system.

Polk Audio AM1805 SurroundBar SDA Instant Home Theater (Black)

I purchased one of these because my husband is an old rocker and his hearing isn’t as good as it used to be. He’d given up watching TV on our 46″ Samsung LCD because of muddy sound. I don’t know whether we blew a speaker (which we’ve done on every other stereo and car we’ve owned) or whether it was just the tiny, tinny speakers in the TV. (Time out for pet peeve: We paid a LOT of money for this TV 2 years ago; you’d think they could put decent speakers in it. OK, back in) He was always asking me what people had said. I wasn’t sure one of these would ‘fix’ it, but it did. We pulled it out of the box and plugged one cable into the wall for power and one into the TV for audio (actually 2 together, you know how they do left and right, red and yellow). We turned the TV speakers off and started enjoying TV immediately. Then my son insisted that we had to use the subwoofer. I thought extra noise was part of our problem and didn’t want to add anything more. We plugged it into power and placed it behind my husband’s chair. Wonderful. You don’t actually hear stuff from this, more like you feel the sound. And this woofer is wireless, so other than needing power, you can put it ANYWHERE in the room. Apparently it’s not like the 3.1/5.1/7.1 speakers where placement is so critical (at least according to those audiophiles). And it only took a few seconds to train our remote to drive it. You hold down a button and count the blinks. When it reaches 3 or something it’s programmed.

Cyber Acoustics CA-5402 Platinum Series High Performance 5.1 Speaker System (Grey)

I can no longer listen to my laptop or mac computer speakers because this product creates such a high quality sound. The others sound too flat now. These speakers are great for the low price and can create a surround sound experience. The bass with these speakers is very good as well. I would recommend this product to anyone!

Panasonic SC-PT480 5.1 Channel Cinema Surround Home Entertainment System

This 5.1 DVD system has a specific niche – This system takes up very little space and packs a good quality sound for the price. I listen to music, view DVD’s, and sports and movies sourced by an HD cable STB. The surround speakers do their job just fine. My test DVD that I used was Diana Krall’s “Live in Paris”. It is a standard 480p disc and my DVD player in the LR is also standard. The LR speakers are KLM with two 12″ woofers in each and bright dome tweeters. The subwoofer is a passive 15″ and has a huge magnet. The music is clean and has a good “sound stage”. Jeff Hamilton’s impactful drums and the acoustic bass played by John Clayton are replicated as if they are in the room. (So it seemed was Diana.) In the bedroom where I placed the Panasonic (easy install)I had to turn down the db’s for the center channel and was able to drop the subwoofer (four settings available) output so it was cleaner and not so “boomy”. The subwoofer has a very small footprint (5.5Wx10Dx11H). The system pleased me in its playback, and the up-conversion on my 37′ Visio at 720P was a delightful surprise! I was given deeper and more vibrant colours and better detail in the fabrics, hair and so forth – much more realistic. The optical audio cable was run from the STB and gives me great 5.1 sound while viewing HD sporting events and HD movies. As I wrote in my above preamble this system is for an intimately sized room – our BR is 14×18 and was filled with sound beautifully.

Denon DHT-591BA Home Theater System with Denon AV Receiver and Boston Acoustics 5.1 Speaker Package (Black)

I ordered this for Father’s day at the time Amazon did not have it available directly so went through one of the listed vendors EE. I actually called them directly and they were exceedingly helpful. Also gave a great deal.

The system is well packaged and very nice for the price—I’m not an expert audiophile but it sounds great to us. The Audyssey set-up is very easy. (although there are plenty of manual controls for those who like to tweak). The manual may be helpful to those who know what they are doing but for us it was confusing and we ended up calling for help. (One of the front speakers was not hooked up correctly and therefore none worked–once we resolved that the rest was pretty easy). Those who have set up surround sound before should have no problem.

The whole system is quality build not cheap HTIB. Of course this is not a thousand dollar or more system but for the average buyer it is a great sound and great price. Similar systems for the same price cannot compare. Speakers are nicely made and fit just about anywhere. Again Boston Acoustic makes a very nice product. The speakers are well matched to the reciever. Our Room is 16 X 22 feet, very high ceilings, hardwood floors and lots of glass. It also is part of an open floorplan. Plenty of full-bodied sound for us.

We set up cable box to receiver and then HDMI to TV. We can run TV without turning the whole system on which is nice. You will need 3 HDMI cables. One for the cable box to receiver, one Receiver to TV, and finally one from receiver to your DVD or blue-ray player. There are also plenty of conventional jacks.

This unit has a USB port for ipod and optional dock is available. The system uploads/coverts older VHS to almost HD quality. There are very few reviews out there on this system (as I write this) but the DHT-590BA is last year’s model and this is an improvement. (new on screen menus and three quick-set buttons on remote) You can also find reviews for just the Receiver AVR-591BA (old model AVR-590BA)

I went with the EE recommendation and I talked to many retail salespeople before selecting this. I have an old Denon receiver that worked great that I have passed on to kids. They build a quality product.

One advantage this has over many comparable Receivers is it runs cool. Over time this adds to the longevity of the unit.I hope this helps others make a decision.

Sony BDV-HZ970W Blu-ray Player Home Entertainment System [3D Compatible]

Works great! Haven’t tested a 3D movie yet, but the sound is amazing. Easy to hook up. The S-Air really works without a glich. Goes great with my Sony setup: XBR60LX900 3D HDTV with active shutter glasses and the PS3 (to include 3D Gaming – wipEout HD is awesome!). It has two HDMI inputs and one HDMI output, perfect for me – PS3 and DirecTV box connect to the HTS, then the HTS connects to the TV. Now the only slight problem is that the device is a bit slow to remote commands when switching inputs, e.i. HDMI1, HDMI2, FM Tuner, BD player… and to the Menu (PS3 type). Other than that… simply amazing!

Samsung HT-C650W Home Theater System

I truly love this system. I agonize over every decision and this one was no exception. I have had component systems in the past, but they never sound as good as they do in the store. I was looking for something that had a all in one type set up, so all components are matched, and looking for a price under 400.00. I checked all the reviews online and found that Cnet had the most comprehensive review and highly recommended the unit due to its quality of sound out of the box. I literally spent 15 minutes with set up including all the wiring, which is color coded on the speaker terminals and on the end of the wires, the wireless receiver and rear speakers, ipod dock, center channel, sub woofer and front speakers. Even with past systems I have owned I cannot recall a easier set up. After the 15 minutes I put in clash of the titans and was amazed. I will admit, the term “wireless rear speakers” is a bit off as you have a wireless receiver that then is wired to the speakers. So just to be clear the rear speakers are a wireless system with a wireless receiver and then short wires to the speakers. One fully set up the movie come on and I was lost in encompassing surround sound features. Especially when Hades entered the scene it felt like he was in the room as the sound moved around the 5 speakers in fluid motion. And with the smart sound feature and set up mic for room, I did not have to do any major tweaking to get the right balance between all the speaker sets. I found the DVD player to be good and equal to any upscaling player, generating 1080P output from the HDMI cable (not included). Overall I would say that especially for this price point I found the quality to be excellent. The only thing that did surprise me was how small the center channel speaker was, but one you hear the sound from it (and lets be honest it is mainly for voices), I quickly forgot its size and sat back and enjoyed the movie. Oh, one more thought, and an important one, for me, is that at low volume the sound quality and surround levels were just as accurate at medium volume and being someone whom watches movies late at night, being able to hear the dialog at low levels is imperative!!

ZVOX 575HSD IncediBase Low-Profile High-Performance Single-Cabinet Surround Sound System

I had just recently purchased the Sony Bravia XBR KDL-46XBR9. This TV has an outstanding picture. However, like all the other flat-panel TVs out there, the sound has a lot to be desired.

So my search began…

Because I’m very limited on space, I had to restrict my search to single bar solutions. After reading all the specs and reviews of the different sound systems on the market, I decided to take a chance on the ZVOX IncrediBase 575 HSD even though I wasn’t able to listen to one locally. I have to say that even though I wasn’t completely blown away from the sound, I’m very happy with the purchase.

What I like:

1. Significant improvement over the TV sound.
2. Very easy setup.
3. Sits very nicely under the TV and actually looks like another piece of furniture. It’s not obvious that it’s a speaker system. My wife had to ask me what it was.

What could be better:

1. As with the other ZVOX systems, when you adjust the bass, treble or volume, the only indicator is a flashing blue light. There is no way to tell what level you’re setting the adjustments to. This drives me a little crazy. Not sure why ZVOX would have left something so simple to do off the unit.
2. Though the bass is a huge improvement over the TV, it is just adequate.
3. Every once in a while, I’ll hear a crackling sound from the unit. Not sure if it is the source or the unit.
4. You have to point the remote right at the unit for it to respond.

All in all I’m very happy with the purchase. As long you you’re not expecting chest thumping bass or true 5.1 surround sound, this’ll make a nice system for those that are very limited on space.

I only gave the unit four stars because there is no indicator levels and the bass could have been just a bit tighter.

Bose Acoustimass 5 – Speaker System ideal for stereo or home theater use – Black

Pros: High and mid-range sounds from the cubes are very crisp, especially during gaming. System has a good all-round sound for the xbox 360, dvds and for music but fall short of excellent. The cubes deliver an amazing sound volume for their size and look great on the top of the piano.

Cons: Bose should make it clear that the bass module is not a powered sub-woofer. It does not deliver any where near the lows of a powered sub. This did not matter to me because I planned to add a sub anyway. Bass module is not all that easy to hide.

Other Thoughts: I’ve read many negative reviews about these (positive as well). I would rate them an 8.5 to 9 on a scale of 10. I played with these quite a while during set-up. Wiring, placement and amp quality are huge variables with this system. If the buyer expects subwoofer lows from the bass module, it won’t happen. The bass module is not easily driven, a weak, low current amp won’t adequately drive it. I replaced inferior speaker wire with high quality Monster Cable and it made a significant improvement. Lastly, the bass module provides PLENTY of (non-sub) bass when wired and placed correctly.

SLS Q-Line Gold 650w 5.1 Surround Sound Home Theater System

I have been shopping for a long time for a home theater system. I have auditioned a lot of systems between $500 and $1500. Hands down this systems sound quality and performance easily outperformed even the $1500 systems I listened to including Bose,Sony and Klipsch. The clarity of the ribbon tweeters is especially impressive. I hooked this system up to my Panasonic blu ray player and watched Batman the Dark Night, and all I can say was wow! Ladies and gentleman you definitely get your money’s worth with this system ! I was also really suprised that this was free freight, the system comes in three boxes that weight over 110 pounds ! The Bose system I was looking at weighed only 30 pounds. The freight alone must of cost a bundle. Could not be happier, would buy again.

Denon DHT-391XP 5.1 Channel Home Theater System with HDMI 1.4a connectivity and 650-Watt Total System Power (Black)

Product Description

The Denon DHT391XP raises the performance bar for “HTIB” systems. It features the powerful Denon AVR391, a 5.1 channel home theater AV reciever boasting 3D compatible, 1080p capable HDMI 1.4a repeating technology (4 in, 1 out). This allows simple one cable connectivity to any HDMI equiped HD TV. The HDMI connectivity also supports the latest generation surround sound formats available on Blu-ray disc, including Dolby TrueHD and DD+, dts-HD and DTS-HR. The AVR-391’s 5 x 110-Watt (6-ohms, 1kHz) amplifier section features discrete circuitry to deliver detail and dynamics to your music and movie selections. Complimenting the AVR-391 is a relatively compact, yet powerful 5.1 speaker package. The front speakers are a 2-way “LCR” design using dual 3-inch woofers flanking a 1-inch tweeter. The surround speakers feature a 3-inch full range driver. Providing depth and impact is an 8-inch, 100-watt powered subwoofer. Combined with the AVR-391, this package delivers 650-watts of total system power. That’s a lot of bang for the buck! Enough to please any value orientated movie and music enthusiast.

Polk Audio Surroundbar IHT 3000 Home Entertainment System (Black)

This little unit is surprisingly good. This is great for someone who expects movie theater sound to go along with their big plasma or lcd. This slim soundbar can be mounted above or below your tv, and even attached to it with the novel brackets from [...] or can be purchased here on Amazon. Soundbar Brackets Universal Soundbar Bracket This little unit gives me details I missed with my Jamo 5.1 system attached to a Harman Kardon receiver I had before. The Wireless sub pounds bass that shouldn’t be possible for a 6.5″ woofer. If everyone heard this unit, I suspect it would become the new standard in home audio. There must be some Bose style DSP trickery or acoustic management going on, because this style of big movie theater sound shouldn’t be possible from such a modest system. You will get a lot of ambient sounds from this unit, but not much surround originating from the back. It kinda seems that it projects sound forward into the room so that there is quite a bit of a 3 dimensional quality to the sound. I cheated and placed my wireless sub behind me, because I could. I’m running a wireless N network in the same room, and there is no interference with it. There are 4 channels to choose from. Buy this and try it in your home. Even my wife begrudgingly admitted it was pretty awesome the first time I plugged it in and fired up a movie. Great sound and great Wife Acceptance Factor. If the remote sensor was a little more sensitive, this would be absolutely perfect.

Bose CineMate GS Series II Digital Home Theater Speaker System

I bought this system for a bedroom AV setup. I live in a townhouse and my bedroom is shaped in a way that will not neatly or economically accomodate a 5.1 or 7.1 system. I also decided that I wanted the biggest TV screen that my room could accomodate and therefore needed small speakers that would fit neatly below my HDTV. For a situation such as mine, this system is amazing. I give it 5 stars because I am comparing it to other 2.1 systems with small sized speakers. It’s not truely fair to compare this with a system composed of a high powered receiver, 7 large speakers and a powered sub. It’s not meant to fill the needs of a large family room or mini in-home movie theatre.

The down side of this system is that it is high priced for what you get. You really should only consider the Cinemate GS II for a situation such as mine where space is at a premium and therefore options are limited. Unlike the Cinemate II, the Cinemate GS II does provide rich sound and ample bass. It also does NOT require a stereo receiver so you will save that cost.

Initially I was hesitant to buy a Bose system because I’ve always heard the criticism that Bose lacks Bass and sounds rather hollow. I went to the Bose store to listen for myself and discovered where those criticisms come from. You must be careful with Bose products. Some sound great while others are over-priced, mediocre sounding junk. The Cinemate II (NOT GS II) is a perfect example of what gives Bose a bad name. My TV’s built-in speakers produced better sound.

So, in conclusion, if you are a discriminating, high-income audio/videophile with a large home, this system will disappoint you. If you live in a modest sized home with limited space and want a compact system that delivers surprisingly rich audio, the Cinemate GS II is hard to beat. Best advice is to shop around and let your wallet, your ears, and your space constraints be your guide.

Bose VCS-30 Center/Surround – Speaker Package home theater sound for component systems – Black

For several years now I’ve enjoyed the use of these speakers, especially the VCS-10 center channel speaker which works wonderfully in conjunction with the receiver’s settings to bring voices out and I’ve used the Model 100’s as the front B speakers just to bring in some additional sound. The advertising here suggests using the Model 100’s as rear/surround speakers, either way, these speakers are very good speakers and will work very well in whatever capacity you place them.

I’ve recently replaced all of the speakers on my primary system with the Bose Acoustimass 10 Series III Home Theater Speaker System and have moved these speakers to the secondary system in conjunction with a pair of Model 301 Series III speakers and another pair of Model 100’s as the rear/surround speakers and have found this to be an enjoyable combination for this system.

All three of these speakers are magnetically shielded so you can go right ahead and put that VCS-10 right on top of your television set and it won’t affect it any way. The Model 100’s can be placed anywhere you desire to put them and Bose also manufactures wall/ceiling mounts for them which are very affordable and simple to install.

The VCS-10 Center Channel Speaker can also be purchased independently and is a highly recommended item for those, like myself, whose hearing just isn’t what it used to be. This model definitely brings those voices out during those “low” moments in movies.

Overall, I’d highly recommend the VCS-30 II Home Theater Surround Set as it is an affordable solution to a desire for a quality set of surround sound speakers and serves as just another testament to the long history Bose and the quality that goes with that name! {ssintrepid}

Vizio VHT210 2.1 Home Theater Soundbar with Wireless Subwoofer (Black)

The sound is great, but after one day the volume LED status lights quit working, about to box it up and return it to Sam’s Club. Vizio needs to address this problem, alot of people are having the same problem with the LED lights.

Samsung HT-C6900W Blu-Ray Home Theater System

just got this puppy a few days ago. out of the box worked just great. I don’t have wireless N router so i ran eth run right from my router.
setup was fast and easy. play back from netflicks over the net worked great. and the standard dvd of pirates of the C. black pearl was great too.
i did have audio sync problem with my sony 55″ hdtv but that was fixed by changing the av delay from 50 ms default to 25ms in the setup screen. now all is good.
my dvr is a mythtv box and it plays great. no sync problems there. only con.. the speaker wires for the rear speakers are just a little short.. had to add 8 feet to both of them. as for the remote my sony universal rmvl600 learned what ever i needed from the 6800 so i could use one button to turn on/off everything with single button as well as volumne etc.. can’t comment on blue ray disk yet.. but so far i am quite pleased.

Samsung HT-C6600 Blu-Ray Home Theater System

I was originally planning on getting the 6500, but couldn’t find one locally. During that search, I ran into a store that had one 6600 left and it was on sale, so I went ahead and got it. The only apparent difference that I’ve found is the 6600 has Bluray 3D capability, but other than that they seem pretty identical.

Setup was relatively easy. Everything is color-coded and Samsung has their own little speaker wire plug, so it’s hard to screw up. That makes it easy, but more difficult to do any kind of customization of your own with other speakers. The speaker calibration seemed to work pretty well, although now and the audio track randomly gets out of sync on occasion, requiring a re-boot to reset things. So far this has only happened when I’ve been watching the DVR, so I’m not sure if it’s specific to that device or input or not.

I have my Xbox 360 and HD Cable plugged into the HDMI inputs, and it plays everything well. It’s great playing games in surround sound, too. That adds a whole new dimension to the gaming experience. All of it is running to a 50″ Panasonic plasma TV, which has one of the best pictures in the TV business to begin with, so the video quality is awesome.

I expected the sound to be marginal at best, coming from a bit of a home-theater customization background. I was pleasantly surprised at how good it actually sounds, though, particularly when playing DVD or Blurays. Don’t get me wrong here, though. This provides the most basic of surround sound, which still greatly enhances watching movies, but it does not provide the same depth of sound as much more expensive and more powerful systems. That said, the subwoofer does get low enough to simulate most sounds, and the rest of it sounds pretty good. Dialogue is the best part, as this is actually sometimes the hardest part of a soundtrack to find a happy medium for comfortable listening without having to keep the remote handy for turning it up and down as the scenes change. The Samsung finds a balance between action and dialogue where you don’t have to constantly adjust things, which is proof that they have the auto-calibration down pretty well.

I have mine wired directly to my home network. I didn’t even bother with the wireless dongle, as I’ve yet to use one that works to my expectations. Even with a wired connection to a 10gb connection, I experienced Netflix issues. The entire internet-based menu and apps system is sluggish at best, so I will probably only use the internet for firmware updates. I believe this is a Samsung issue, not my internet, for the simple reason that I can watch full HD Netflix movies through my Xbox wirelessly with no issues at all. And that’s fine with me…I still play them through the Samsung surround sound, so it’s not a loss, although it would be nice to see Samsung come up with a fix to smooth things out.

There are various apps and whatnot you can play with online, but the remote is clumsy and poorly designed in my opinion. It lacks any intuitive way to type, for one thing, which limits what you can do efficiently on the web. You have to create an account at the Samsung app store, and another at their internet@tv or whatever it’s called site, and I just haven’t had the patience to sit through it all. I have enough computers and apps already, so I guess I’m happy with just being able to play Blurays in surround sound for now. :)

For the price, I don’t think you can beat what you get with this system. $450 and it does almost everything. I do wish it would tell you what resolution it was outputting to the TV and what kind of sound it was playing in (i.e. DTS, Dolby 5.1, etc). As far as I’ve been able to discover, there is no way to tell if it is truly playing the encoded surround signal.

Pros: Price, good sound, easy setup, better than normal auto-calibration system for speakers
Cons: Confusing remote, unexplained slow-down in internet signal run through system that makes using Netflix almost impossible.

Sony HT-SF470 – Home theater system – 5.1 channel

This does sound great. I do not want to take that away from it, but I feel that the Bravia Sync feature is a little buggy. Here is my problem. One of the great features of this system is that it will do HDMI pass-thru when the unit is off. That is great because you don’t have to have it on all the time to hear what you are watching. When the unit turns on, it turns off the TV speakers (TV says “switching to external audio”). That is great. Now, when you turn the unit off, the TV once again says it is switching to the external audio. That doesn’t make any sense. It should turn the TV speakers back on. A few days with Sony customer support, they say this is working by design and is not a bug. Well, the design is wrong. I am using a Sony Bravia KDL-40V5100 TV by the way.

To be fair, the rest of the Bravia Sync functions work great. I can change the volume with the TV remote. When I turn off the TV, the home theater turns off as well. Switching the input on the TV will switch the input on the home theater system.

I’m wondering if anyone has had this issue with the switching on and off of the TV speaker. It could just be a bug in the TV.

Sony HTSS360 5.1 channel Home Theater System (Black)

I own a new 40″ Sony Bravia LCD that I hooked this system up to. I was very impressed with its sound and its wide range of features for the price! However, there were a couple areas that I feel need to be addressed.

PROS:
– Excellent sound, especially the Movie DCS mode which adds a ton of depth to any movie
– Easy setup
– Excellent integration with a Sony TV. I can fully control my LCD from the receiver remote after hooking up the HDMI cables.
– Full HDMI switching makes initial connection and switching between sources a snap. I can switch between cable and my PS3 with 1 button.
– Wide range of format handling, including Linear PCM.
– Wide range of sound modes.
– No color distortion issues when switching between HDMI sources. This seemed to be a problem in older models.

CONS:
– I found the bass to be a little lacking due to the fact that the subwoofer is passive. I swapped the included one out with this: Yamaha YST-SW216BL Advanced YST II Front-Firing Active Subwoofer and it brought the sound to a whole new level!
– Uses proprietary speaker wire connections. Sony makes it very hard to swap the subwoofer like I described previously because the receiver uses proprietary plugs for the speakers instead of generic speaker wire attachments. The system comes with 4 thin speaker wires with plugs to the receiver on one end, and bare wire on the other to hook up to the satellite speakers. However, the subwoofer’s is HARD WIRED, so it can’t be detached at all. What’s worse is that Sony only sells their speaker wires in packs of 5, for a whopping $55.
To use my new subwoofer, I simply found an aftermarket plug with a small length of wire on eBay, spliced it with some standard 18 gauge wire of my own and hooked it up to my new sub. Voila, it worked like a charm.

OVERALL:
Out of the box, the system is a solid 4/5. With a powered subwoofer and a little bit of handiwork to get around Sony’s greed, it can be improved to 5/5.

Mirage MX 5.1-Channel Miniature Home Theater Speaker System (Set of Six Black)

These speakers are AWESOME. Very loud and superb for surround sound and fills a large room with sound. The only negative is that the Subwoofer is pretty weak. It does not fill the room, and I have the volume all the way up and even turned volume up on my receiver. As I mentioned before, I did put this in a “large room”, so I think that is the problem. In a smaller room this sub would be great. However, the spearkers can go in any room as they provide awesome sound and clarity. Therefore, I would rate the Speakers, sound and appearance a 5+, but subwoofer a 2 or 3, but again its probably due to my room size. If you have a small room or don’t like a lot of bass this is fine, but for explosions and bass in a “large room” you need to add a bigger sub, then you will be ECSTATIC with these little speakers.

Bose 161 Speaker System (White) – ideal for stereo or home theater use

We bought several pairs of these 161 speakers when they were first introduced a little over a year ago. We use one pair for the surround speakers in our theater system, and a pair in each of the other rooms of our home.

Although we are longtime Bose fans, we decided to audition these in an audio store as we had been disappointed in a Bose center channel speaker we had purchased previously, (based on reputation, we didn’t listen first!). We were favorbly impressed in the store and have been very pleased with them in our home. Regardless of room decor, the speakers produce clean, stereo sound. (Its possible to identify orchestral instruments and their location!)

These speakers are very linear above 80-90Hz, to the audible limits. They drop off rapidly below about 80Hz. Bass frequencies are adequately reproduced for orchestral music but will need to be augmented for heavy bass or special cinematic effects. (sub-woofer)

These speakers are intended to be wall mounted and are easily installed with the included brackets. They do not sit well on a shelf!

RCA RTD316Wi DVD Home Theater System with Dock for iPod

iPod Dock
Connect most 30-pin docking iPod models with the universal iPod dock, in a front-panel compartment that closes when not in use. Navigate your iPod contents, and enjoy your favorite music or stream your video content to your TV.

Plenty of Playback
The RTD316Wi plays your favorite DVDs (including burned content on DVD-R/RW or DVD+R/RW discs), CDs, and CD-R/RW audio discs. And it will display JPG photos burned to a CD/DVD, so you can share your family vacation photos on the big screen.

The receiver also features an AM/FM stereo tuner, allowing you to dial in your favorite radio programming. Call up your favorites in a snap with 30 presets for each band.

High-Resolution Video
The RTD316Wi delivers high-resolution video up to full HD 1080p resolution. It offers a selectable resolution you can match to your set–480p, 720p, 1080i, and 1080p.

It also features DVD video up-conversion, so you get the most from your DVD collection, and it delivers iPod or DVD audio/video over a single cable using its HDMI output (component and composite outputs are also provided).

Audio Input Options
The RTD316Wi provides three options for audio input. Right up front is a convenient 3.5-mm auxiliary input, which is handy for MP3 players, connecting a laptop, etc.

On the back you’ll find an auxiliary RCA input, along with a digital optical input for a straight digital connection–perfect for TV/cable connections with multi-channel audio.

Superior Sound Quality
This receiver provides five satellite speakers and a subwoofer, for 5.1-channel surround sound. That means you just have to play a DVD or connect to HDTV, satellite, or a cable box for a full digital surround experience.

The home theater system outputs 250 watts total power, so you should have plenty of headroom for turning it up and shaking the room a bit.

Easy Setup
The six included speakers are easily connected thanks to color-coded terminals and cabling. Once you’ve got it set up, a test signal generator will help you balance the level for each channel.

Samsung HW-C770BS Home Theater System

Sound quality is where you get what you pay for. If your trying to fill a large room, 20×30 or larger, this is not the system, but for smaller rooms it’s perfect. Your not paying for Hi End Speakers or a lot of power, but what you get is an excellent level of power and sound. Ease of operation is somewhat excellent once you learn the sequence to make the changes. Other than switching from Dolby Pro IIz and x should be about the only changes you may need to do. Some tone adjustments if using the tuner. The only weakness I ran into is the mounting key for each of the speaker. Plastic is thin and weak. When mounting using brackets, do not force or the key will stretch and break. Too bad they didn’t use a threaded mount that was strongly secured to the speaker cabinet. You also may want to double check the automated sound control setup, check distance and speaker size especially, may take a couple of tries.

Sony BDVE300 5.1-Channel High-Definition Blu-ray Disc Player/DVD Disc Home theater System (Black)

I bought the BDVE300 to go with a Sony 52Z5100 HDTV that I also bought from Amazon. I bought it mainly because I wanted to match the two items for both esthetic and practical reasons. The black speakers match the TV perfectly. I can also control both with one controller and easily run the TV sound through the HTS.
I am not an audiophile. So I didn’t try to compare technical specs. This review is strictly subjective (in part to counter the one above) and is based on what I have heard while using the system with the TV.

The room in which the TV is located in is a 20 X 20 den/family room with a connecting dining area and kitchen. The entire area is open. It has wooden floors with a single oval area rug in front of the fireplace and TV.

I found the sound to be exceptionally clear and clean, without distortion or unevenness. I can tell a definite difference between the TV speakers and the BDV300 speakers. The BDV300 sound seems more spacious. It fills the room without blowing you away. The sound has more fullness to it than the TV speakers.
I have not tried it at full volume. I have never felt the need to do so. I have watched two musical DVDs, a Mary Chapin Carpenter concert and the 10th anniversary recording of Les Miserables. In both cases the music sounded beautiful and clear. You could hear all of nuances of the voices and the words of the songs were distinct and clear.

If you want strong bass that shakes the room, I am not sure this is the system for you. The bass is there but it is blended in with the other sounds. I am sure I can adjust it for greater effect. However, I am currently running the system at default values.

As for the lack of an S-air wireless cartridge, as mentioned by the reviewer above. It is true you have to buy it separately. However, everything I read about the system stated this plainly up front. If you need this feature it is available as an option. In researching this system I found this individual posted the same opinion on every web site he could find. I don’t think his opinion was a fair assessment of the system’s capabilities.
I found the set up to be rather easy. The instructions show various options on installing it alone with the TV or with a cable/SAT box or with an external DVD, etc. With the external mic it took about one minute to calibrate and maybe 15 mins. to connect the wires.

Be aware that Sony uses a proprietary plug on the DVD/Radio/Amp end of the system. The speaker end is a simple pinch type terminal. There is a FM & AM receiver as part of the system. I have not tried them yet. The DVD/CD/Blue ray player worked fine.

The bottom line is: The BDVE300 does everything Sony says it does. If you are looking for something to enhance your TV experience and play CDs with good clear sound, this system will do it well. For the price, I think it is an excellent value. I found no “gotchas” or “I can’t believe they did this”. So I gave it a rating of 5. I am very pleased with my purchase.

Klipsch HD 500 Compact 5.1 Home Theater System (Set of Six Black)

I purchased these Klipsch HD 500s as a package deal with a Yamaha RX-V567BL receiver for my parents. I had tested them out along with some other comparable speakers at a local home audio store. They sounded awesome in the store, but sound even more amazing now that I have them setup and dialed in for their living room. They have amazing clarity and definition, yet still have a very full sound to them. Would highly recommend them to anyone looking for surround sound speakers under $1000. They come with wall mount speaker brackets, but I opted to install them on some generic Atlantic speaker stands I picked up. They are pretty easy to install for those that are comfortable with audio equipment. My best recommendation for those looking for a surround sound package is to go to a store and listen to the different options. Just because speakers are expensive doesn’t make them good. And just because someone tells you they are awesome speakers, doesn’t mean you should take their word for it. There is always some subjectivity in audio equipment. What one person thinks sounds good, another person may hate. I recommend, though, that you take a listen to these as a great option for your surround sound system.

Coby DVD968 5.1-Channel DVD Home Theater System with 1080p Upconversion DivX Playback and AM/FM Tuner (Black)

Chose this product because of the value (price vs features). Overall I got what I wanted /expected.

Features I was looking for:
-ability to play DivX movies
-HDMI connection
-Surround sound

Bonus features:
-USB Connection

Annoyances:
-vast sound difference between radio and other sources – need dvd player approx level 30, radio level 2. The default setting seems to be level 35, so switching between sources when you turn it on is a pain if you don’t turn down the volume
-volume knob on the unit is erratic
-no random selection when playing music (off USB drive)

Installation was easy, works OK with my TV, plays DVD’s and videos well, good radio reception.

Technical Pro HT-S12 5.1 Home Theater Speaker System with 12-Inch Powered Subwoofer (Set of Six Black)

I purchased this speaker system as a package deal with a Denon receiver. I have been disappointed in the aesthetics of these speakers, although the sound is adequate. The speakers are large, bulky (especially the center speaker!), and NOT mountable on the wall or pedestals. They also look cheap, and the wood on my subwoofer came damaged — the paint was majorly “bubbled” on the top. In addition, the speakers arrived somewhat dirty, so I had to clean the dust off of them prior to installation. Finally, the “manual” was of little use, as it was small with very few details.

Onkyo CS-325 CD Receiver System

In the price versus performance competitions, I always think Onkyo gives you the biggest bang for the bucks. I have a full size Onkyo 5.1. It sounds great and has been very reliable. Lately I have been looking for a mini system for my mom’s apartment. After listening to Bose and other brands, I think the CS-325 gives the best value for the same money. I am an electrical engineer and had opened countless electronic equipment packagings. Let me tell you, I’ve never seen any packaging as neat and impecable as this one. The set up was simple and straight forward. The speaker feels very substantial, a sign of quality. Overall, the system looks very nice. Once set up, the controls are very user friendly. It is an excellent choice for a smaller space such as a city apartment. I am happy with its high to mid frequency range. I could ask for better bass perhaps due to its smaller woofer. Some may complain that the Ipod docking is optional. Still, it beats many systems that cost twice as much. At $200, it is a great buy. Onkyo CS-325 CD Receiver System

JVC TH-G31 DVD Digital Theater System

We got this to use as our stereo and, while it took a while to get the speakers put up on the wall and wire run around the room, the end result is awesome! Make sure to buy all of the cables you need to run it to your various equipment since it doesn’t come with anything. We’ve had JVC stereos in the past and loved them so if you’re a fan this one doesn’t disappoint. Also the sub-woofer wire was too short so we cut one of the others down and connected it to the the designated wire(only because the other speakers were in place and it seemed easier). That worked well for a quick fix -don’t forget to wrap the wires separately in electrical tape. I followed all the advice from of the other reviews I read on this and the similar models (i.e. set up the speaker distance, etc.) and I was very happy with the sound quality. It kicks some serious sound tho for a smallish apt. so watch out for neighbor complaints. Finally, it does come with an mp3 input so if you are not an ipod elitist then you will be pleased to know this but get the cord for that too or you will have to go back on amazon to order it, ha.

Samsung HT-C6500 Blu-ray Home Theater System

First of all, the main capabilities of this HTiB are great. Excellent sound quality and Blu-ray capability.

I’m no audiophile, but I think the sound quality is superb. It’s something else when you have to turn around to see if a noise behind you is real. It booms when it needs to and is accurate and quiet when required. I also like how it will utilize different speakers depending on what you’re doing. Playing a war game with explosions and gunfire going off all around you? The surround speakers are cranked up to put you in the middle of the action. Watching House? Most of the dialog is going through the center speaker for a more casual viewing experience. Listening to music? The front left and right speakers are working hardest to fill the room. I don’t select any of this manually, it just seems to know what would be best.

The Blu-ray capability seems good. The first one I tried to play was Avatar, and the player needed to update. I thought this was strange as I’ve only had DVDs before and have never needed an internet connection let alone an update. But, it was a fairly painless five minutes while I made popcorn. The movie looked and sounded great as expected.

The main extras like Pandora and Netflix streaming are good. For some reason, Netflix seems to look better on this than my Xbox 360. I have a relatively slow internet connection so I’m impressed with the quality. I don’t care for the cheesy web applications that have little use on your TV.

The interface is a weak spot. It slow and sometimes painful. They tried to set it up the interface like it’s a primary entertainment device but it runs like a strictly DVD/Blu-ray player with extra features. If you have a DVD/Blu-ray in the drive it’s constantly trying to load it. You may want to watch some Netflix or play some music but this HTiB ALWAYS wants to play the movie. I really wish there was a way to disable this “feature”.

I also bought a Samsung plasma TV and this HTiB connects automatically to it through the Anynet+ feature. This is great while using my TV’s other inputs. It automatically changes settings for optimal use of the HTiB. But, it’s often very wonky when trying to change the TV’s input to the HTiB. It has trouble recognizing video settings and I end up having to mess around for a few minutes to get it to work correctly.

You may ask why I don’t have everything running through the HTiB to the TV, since it does have two HDMI inputs. Well, this unit has a component OUT but not in. I didn’t notice that when I purchased so I would have to run the component cables from the Wii to the TV and everything else to the HTiB, this would no doubt utterly confuse the girlfriend and I would be forever running the TV for her.

Overall it’s a great system that they just need to spend some time updating the software for. If they could fix the interface problems, add an option to turn off the drive auto-start, and add internet connection sharing, this HTiB would be superb.

Bose CineMate Digital Home Theater Speaker System

I am very pleased with the sound quality of the Bose Cinemate 2.1 system. The key to gettting the best sound quality is to follow the instructions and disable you TV’s speakers, and set the audio output to ‘fixed.’ Prior to doing that the bass seemed very low. As soon as I made that change, WOW! what a system. I suspect others who have given the system a low rating may have not had the system set up properly. While you can set it up easily with just a few connections, it it important to adjust your TV’s audio to ensure you are hearing that unparalled Bose sound.

Samsung HT-C6730W Blu-ray Home Theater System

We got this system a week ago…. connected to a Sharp LED. The set up is very, very simple. Despite the proprietary connectors on the system side, was able to extend the speakers with simple butt connectors and placed under the carpet. The quality (mindful for the $600 range) is fabulous! My partner is a classical musician and non techno person and she loved how it sounds. It takes little bit of of fumbling with PL and DLP buttons to get the right source, (not Samsung’s issue) but it is wonderful. We have a 12×18 + dinning room area so it is very, very good clear to hear. I have not been able to set up the wireless yet, was not auto found but I am sure will be able to do it. The CD makes a little bit of noise (we have everything else hidden but placed it on top of the cabinet for easy of access and looks very nice) but I think that is normal for DVD system. Blue ray is very nice and not sure the other comment on Samsung vs. Sony holds merit. We chose to spent the extra $80 for the system with the taller speakers and the 7.1 combo and 1300 Watts but I think it was the right decision. I will get an update on Netflix and wireless as I have not been able to use it yet…. Again, I think this is an amazing systems, price, design, features and design level…

Polk Audio RM6750 5.1 Channel Home Theater Speaker System (Set of Six Black)
Before reviewing – “thanks” to everyone who did likewise. I recently upgraded a few elements and placed a lot of emphasis upon user reviews to guide decisions between rival components.

As for the review, first a description of my home theater and audio system: Dell WD4200 1080i HD Monitor, Yamaha RX-V661 A/V receiver, Toshiba HD-A2 HD DVD player, Polk RM6750 system as the “A” speaker set, Klipsch Forte’s as the “B” speaker pair. The listening/viewing environment is a carpeted, 12 x 14 room opening on one narrow side with an archway into a larger room, with the TV, front speakers, and subwoofer placed on a long wall. The RM6750 center speaker is installed immediately underneath the wall-mounted TV, the front right and left RM6750 surround speakers atop the Forte’s in the room corners, the subwoofer on the floor, and the rear right and left surround speakers ceiling-mounted and directed downwards to a sectional sofa at the rear of the room. Since my receiver allows user-defined selection of the LFE crossover frequency, I wired the RM6750 sub to the receiver’s sub-out, set the receiver LFE lowpass at 160 Hz, set the sub LFE lowpass to 160 Hz, and set all other RM6750 speakers to “small”.

My view based on both surround and stereo playback programs is that the RM6750 represents a huge upgrade for folks interested in a basic surround system – particularly if the alternative is listening to standard TV speakers – though the system is not a substitute for more refined audio monitors if the primary content is music. At this pricepoint what are remarkable are not the system’s weaknesses but its strengths: the center provides clear dialog, the four surrounds are bright and forward, and the sub adequately if not accurately renders the “thumps”. “thuds”, “whacks”, and harmonic base tones associated with studio music tracks. Using a variety of Dolby and DTS-encoded film audio tracks, the surround-scape created by the RM6750 was unexpectedly good: clear, defined, well-separated, and without obvious flaws in stand-alone listening. The subwoofer pumps out a lot of sound – even with the volume set to the unit’s midpoint – but it tends towards the “thumpiness” I associate with over-driven car audio: no buzzing or rattling, but just short of that. However, as movie audio effects emphasize presence over accuracy, this may be by design and the results for standard surround-sound movie audio are impressive.

The system’s weaknesses stem from the inability to accurately and smoothly reproduce standard music. To minimize listening bias, I performed several hours of A/B testing of the RM6750 in most listening modes provided by the RX-V661 with the Forte’s as reference using classical and rock CDs as input material and my wife and daughter as blinded panelists. The Fortes were hands down smoother, crisper in the highs, and more accurate, deep, resonant, and non-boomy in mids and the lows. The largest difference was in the low-base response, where music material with complex deep-base (some Floyd tracks in particular) was boomy and mushy on the RM6750s but clear and seamless with the higher frequency tones on the Forte’s. Pound for pound, however, the RM6750s were surprisingly good competition for the more expensive horn-driven tweeters, midrange, and base of the audio monitors playing music: the Forte’s, though aging, were among the best speakers made at the time I purchased them (I replaced a set of Bose 901s), cost 5 times then what I paid for the RM6750s now, and do not provide a dollar-for-dollar linear sound advantage. One would be hard pressed to say the RM6750’s suck for music listening and minor deficiencies in accuracy would be difficult to detect – expect for obviously inaccurate deep base – in the absence of a superior comparator.

The bottom line in my view is that if you bought a big TV and don’t have a surround sound system, spending another $250 for the RM6750 will render an outsized improvement in your home theater experience. For those who like loud low-bass and don’t necessarily care if it is a bit jarring and “thumpy”, you could use this system for both home theater and music listening. For those who prefer accurate music reproduction, only the most budget conscious should consider the RM6750 a standalone solution to all their listening needs.

Samsung HT-Z320 Home Theater System

Overall the system is good, very easy to set-up. Just un-pack and color match the speaker cables, plug-it in and your done.
It could have been 5 stars but it doesn’t have an AM tunner, most sporting events are broadcast on AM so its a big deal for me.
The USB port is great, just plug-in your drive and set the input to AUX and hit play. In a hurry, you don’t even need to hook up the system to a tv if you just need it for music.
Image quality is good, PS3 takes care of that. Using the system just for the audio.

Pros:
Great Sound
Easy Set-up
Good image quality

Cons:
No AM Tunner
Speaker wires could have been of a thiker gauge
Subwoofer could have had a screen to protect it

Vizio VHT510 5.1 Surround Sound Home Theater with Wireless Subwoofer (Black)

I purchased the Vizio VHT510 from Costco about 2 weeks ago. I set it up right away, however I haven’t mounted the rear surrounds yet. It works great and the sound quality is better than you could reasonably expect for a sound system at this price point. It is great not to have to run wires and still get 5.1 surround. It looks neat and clean and not at all cheap or shoddy like one might expect with a sound system just barely over $300.00.

I have just a couple of concerns. As per the previous review, there is only a single optical output. I currently have it connected to my 50 inch Samsung plasma; it would be really nice to have a couple more optical outs even if the price went up a notch. My more serious concern is with the LED lights on the sound bar; they are supposed to light up when changing the volume up or down indicating the sound level. Unfortunately it doesn’t work at least half the time. The volume still changes, but it is concerning when something is not working as it is supposed to on a brand new electronic device. I have seen other complaints about this very same issue on message boards such as AVS forum. My heart dropped when my brand new sound system started doing that very same thing a few days ago. Some have returned/replaced the sound bar only to have this feature be as unreliable with the second unit. I can’t deal with reboxing and returning it so I just hope that it continues to work as it has and that this issue does not turn into something else that effects the actual function of the sound system. It would be great if Vizio could address this problem since it is not an isolated incidence.

Addendum:

I finally returned the Vizio 510 to Costco today. The LED volume indicator completely stopped working. The volume still changes as it should and the system still sounds great, but I am not comfortable keeping a device that doesn’t work correctly from the very beginning. While waiting in line at Costco returns, someone came up to me and asked if I had a problem with the LED indicators. He said he had the same problem and returned it as well. This seems to be a real issue with this product.

Bose Lifestyle V30 Home Theater System – Black

I am amazed at the ease of installation. I had the whole system up and running in less than 1/2 an hour- granted that I used the speaker wires and wall/ceiling mounts from my old BOSE AM 15’s. The only added step was installing an adapter on the speaker wires from my Bose AM 15 so I could connect the Jewel cube arrays. (I had to use the old speaker wires because they where already installed in the walls.) The Adapt IQ is really what sets this system apart. We have a really wide living room in which the TV is off center. Balancing my old Bose AM 15 Direct Reflective speaker arrays with the old receiver was a nightmare. AdaptIQ did all the work in minutes. Every speaker is now perfectly balanced. We where a little concerned about spending an extra $1,000 for the V30 opposed to the V20, but the Jewel Cube Speakers are so crisp and clear. Music never sounded better. The surround sound fill the room evenly at all volumes. It’s powerful when it’s suppose to be, yet the dialogue is clear and coherent. The only adjustment I made was to increase the bass to +2 and Treble to +4. I left everything else on automatic. My old receiver was overbearingly powerful in which the details would get lost. The minimalist design of the Lifestyle systems is superb. The system blends in the room’s decor perfectly. One note of caution, IF YOU SEE “PCM 2.0″ ON YOUR BOSE DISPLAY-MAKE SURE YOUR DVD SOURCE IS ON THE RIGHT SETTING. Contrary to what the Bose saleman said to me, PCM 2.0 is not the same as Dolby Digital or DTS 5.1. I was getting PCM 2.0 on movies and Dolby Digital 5.1 on cable tv and video games. I have a PS3 in which I had to change the HDMI setting from ‘linear’ 2.0 to ‘bitstream’- Problem solved – I now get 5.1 on all forms of media. In conclusion- If you have the means, I highly recommend this top end Lifestyle system. You will save in the long run. I spent $2,300 in 1999 when I mixed Bose speakers with a Yamaha receiver and was never 100 percent satisfied. I would have been much better off shelling out a few hundred more and getting a Lifestyle system back then.

Yamaha YHT-S400BL Front Surround Unique Home Theater Package (Black)

I was entirely ready to purchase the Sony HT-CT500 from Amazon when I decided to go into the local HHGregg to hear it first. When I went got there, I was very underwhelmed by the Sony system. I started to look around at other options in the $400 – $500 range and found the Yamaha YHT-S400. I saw it on the internet a few days earlier but was reluctant to pursue it due to lack of customer reviews. Once I saw the very sleek soundbar in person, and heard the exceptional sound quality customary with Yamaha products, I just had to have it.

Setup was a breeze on my Mitsubishi LT46244 Television. I connected my home theater PC and satellite box using HDMI. I left my Wii connected to the a component input on my television. Then, I came back out of my TV with a standard RCA audio patch cable so the Wii and Antenna sound could be routed to the receiver. Unfortunately, the unit does not have a digital coaxial audio input, as that is the only digital out on my television. I used the NET Command system built in to my television to control the power and source switching on the Yamaha receiver unit. Everything works great together with using only the remote from my television.

The sound quality is exactly what you would expect from Yamaha. The highs are very crisp and clean. The lows are nice and really add a punch to a good action sequence. The surround sound simulation is actually pretty good as well. I wasn’t expecting much in this department so I was pleasantly surprised when it actually gave a sense of surround sound.

Pros:
Great Sound
Very Stylish (Wife loves the look)
Easy to setup
Small, non-intrusive visually

Cons:
Can’t stack components on receiver due to integrated sub
No digital coaxial inputs

This is a great product. I would definitely buy it again.

Home Theater System with 1000W Audio Receiver

I see a lot of people bashing this system, but for the price tag – well, you cannot do better! The receiver is pretty decent actually, and has features few would expect in a low cost model. The speakers are OK, but not spectacular. The subwoofer does a decent job. The reviews I read with complaints about distortion, well they might want to be realistic and not be cranking the system up to the max – after all you did already complain about the speakers not being high quality.

I am pretty satisfied with the quality for the price and may eventually get some better speakers for it. Look at it this way – not a bad price for a receiver these days, and some speakers to get you going; not a bad start if you ask me. Before insulting a product, consider what you are paying before expecting ludacrus results.

Marantz NR1501 Slim Line Home Theater Receiver

The Marantz NR1501 slim line model is only about 4″ tall and really an excellent overall receiver. I bought this to replace a Sony STRG810. It was a toss up between a Denon, Yamaha or Marantz. The Sony STRG810 was a great receiver for movies but it was lacking sound quality in the music department (too much reverb). When comparing similar models, Yamaha was brighter then Denon, and Marantz was warmer then Denon, so I went with Marantz. I compared the Marantz NR1501 model to a Marantz SR6004 ($1300) side by side, and the audio quality was almost the same except the SR6004 was a bit more full at 110 watts per channel. I also compared the Marantz NR1501 to a Harmon Kardon AVR254 and the Marantz NR1501 sounded much better. The Harmon Kardon sounded too digital and tinny where the Marantz sounded true to its source. I am very pleased with how warm and clear the sound quality is while listening to music or watching movies.

The 50 watt NR1501 is more then enough wattage to power my reference series Klipsch speakers in a 13′ x 17′ living room. You may think that 50 watts is too low, but Marantz rates their receivers lower then what they are capable of. For example, Sony rates their receivers by putting a meter in the center of a testing room and increasing the volume as loud as it can go – distortion and all; they mark down what the wattage output is. Marantz does the same procedure except once they get to distortion, they back the knob off a little and mark down the wattage rating. That is why you will notice a lot of Marantz receivers are rated at 50,70, or 90 watts which is a lot lower then some of the 100,110 watt competition.

I usually set all the parameters (crossover frequency, speaker distance, db level etc.) by ear as I have with every receiver I purchase. I wanted to see how well this receiver would do with auto calibration, so I ran it. The receiver comes with a microphone so I put it on a camera tripod, set it to the listening position, and ran the auto cal procedure. Auto cal lasted about 3 minutes and played a series of test tones. When it was done, all of the levels were adjusted to the listening position. I manually went through these levels to see how well it did and I would not change a thing. This is an excellent receiver.

Sony BRAVIA DAV-HDX285 5.1-Channel Theater System (Black)

I’m not a professional, but I almost didn’t purchase this unit due to conflicting reviews about what the unit is or isn’t capable of doing. Having had similar experiences with other products advertised on Amazon, it was usually (always, actually) a negative review from a customer who hadn’t read or didn’t follow the manual. So with the attractive price, I went ahead and gave it a try. The manual clearly states that you can use additional devices, so I began the set up, and every device I had can be used through this system (TiVo, a second Blu-Ray DVD, my iPhone). I can watch TV in surround sound; the manual gives clear instructions on how to do this. The quality is good. This replaces an older Cambridge Soundworks 5.1 system, and the quality is comparible. The set-up was easy. I live in a small apartment in a large metropolitan area, and I’ve learned these systems give clarity without volume, and my neighbors never complain and remark they never know when I’m home. It’s a 5 disc DVD player, so you’ll need counter/shelf space to accomodate. The AM/FM receiver is a great plus. This is attached to a first generation Samsung HDTV 1080i, and I’m very pleased…with the price and performance. I used HDMI and optical cable hook-up, which are not included in the purchase.

Acoustimass 3 Series IV speaker system – Black

Let me start this review by saying that I’m not an “audiophile” and won’t be including any gibberish about audible ranges or anything like that. I just can tell when I hear good sound that I like. And these speakers produce that. Plenty of bass (almost too much, I had to turn down the base on my receiver) and beautifully clear mid-range and high notes.

Connected these Bose speakers to my 25 year old Yamaha 500 RX receiver and an old Toshiba DVD player. The system sounds great. In addition to CD and Tuner, I bought a cable that allows me to connect the receiver to my laptop computer, and now I get the best sound I’ve ever heard from all my Internet radio stations, CD’s, ITunes, and games.

And best of all, these speakers are small enough that they don’t take up hardly any room in my home office. Little cubes are on the side of the room and are not obtrusive. Acoustimass module shoved in the corner.

Only really down side I can see is the cost of Bose products. These are pretty expensive and you can probably find speakers that sound just as good for less money. But, I guarantee you they will not be as small and fit as well in your room.

Panasonic SC-BTT750 5.1 Channel 3D Blu-Ray Cinema Surround Home Entertainment System (Black)

Product Description

Putting the fun back into home theater, Panasonic’s SC-BTT750 5.1 3D Blu-ray Disc home theater system has plenty of power, which is pumped out by the overly capable 5.1 speaker system: cinema surround, Pure Direct tall boy speaker design and advanced bamboo cones, a Kelton subwoofer, wireless rear speaker ready, VIERA Cast, ethernet, and Wi-Fi all add up to one wicked home theater experience. Okay, so the fun never really went out of home theater, but with the SC-BTT750’s Smart Setup, you’ll be watching movies a whole lot quicker. And, that’s definitely more fun.

Samsung HT-BD8200 Blu-Ray Sound Bar Home Theater System (Black)

I used to have a DirecTV DVR (stopped the service, but still had lots recorded on it), a (sucky) DVD player (do not buy cheap GE products), a VHS player (also sucky, but indestructible), a great bookshelf stereo, a video game console, a TV and an input selector to switch between all of them. Connecting all these devices was a fishing net of cables that could drown a dolphin educated in basket weaving. Just disconnecting and reconnecting all those cables to move stuff around easily took 45 to 60 minutes. (I like them to be tidy, but I don’t take the time to label them. Go figure.) Also, the whole setup was contained in an Ikea entertainment center that was 3 feet tall, 2 feet deep and just over 4 feet long.

Enter the HT-BD8200.

I knew I wanted this thing when I heard it’s announcement last January. The more I read about it, the more I liked it. It seemed to have every feature I was looking for: compact size, wireless networking, connects to network accessible hard drives to show audio and video and images, streams Netflix and Pandora Internet radio, Blu-Ray (so I can be like the hip kids). Wall mountable, too! This thing was finally released in August, and I scooped 1 up. But, at $800 I started to worry that my expectations were a little high, and that I would be sorely disappointed.

Streaming Netflix directly to the TV is pretty cool. You cannot search for movies to watch through this system, but after you add them to your Watch Instantly queue on the Netflix website, the movie is immediately available to watch through the HT-BD8200. Similarly, the streaming Pandora music is cool, but also has limitations.

My HT-BD8200 is connected to my TV (also Samsung) by HDMI, both of which have the AnyConnect+ feature, which allows the 2 devices to adjust each other depending on what I am trying to watch. One thing I dislike about the streaming music feature; if I switch the TVs input source to the video game input, the music is turned off so that the HT-BD8200 can play the sound from the video game. What I wanted to do, though, was surf the web with the video game console while listening to Pandora’s music. This could be a configuration problem, and there’s probably a way around it, but for now, it’s only slightly annoying.

The 2.1 virtual surround sound is really good. It can definitely put out more noise than I care to find out. With the volume at 20 (I think it goes to 100), I can easily feel the hardwood floor vibrate from the bass. I’m no audiophile, but I appreciate quality sound. The HT-BD8200 produces crisp, rich and clean sound. The virtual surround sound does work provided the sound being played was recorded with surround sound.

I feel like I have only dabbled in its many features. For example, I have not been able to get it to see a hard drive on my computer running Ubuntu/Linux, but a stand-alone networked hard drive should work well.

Yes, it’s expensive, but it seems to have just about everything I can ask a small, wall mountable, attractive system to be capable of.

JBL CS480BG High Performance complete 6-Piece Home Theater Speaker System with Brackets (Black Gloss)

Let me start by saying that I couldn’t be happier with these speakers. I did my homework when it was time to take my 6 year old HK SAT-TS2 5.1 system off the wall and make the next step toward turning my living room into a true cinema. Although I have the 6.1 capable Sony receiver and Blueray player (AKA PS3), I decided to stick with a 5.1 system due to the size limitation of my living room (13×16). My room was already wired, but the system does come with speaker wires and subwoofer cable. Another bonus are the two sets of speaker brackets. This system includes fixed (uni-directional swivel) and pivoting brackets for all the speakers. I also liked the departure from the spring clip connectors. These speakers have quality screw terminals that can handle a 10 gauge wire. The only issue I discovered was that the fixed bracket for the center speaker may create a short between the speaker wire terminals. A little electrical tape solved the problem and I was finally off to the races. HD TV, Dolby Digital 5.1 movies, and PS3 games have been raised to a new level with this system. Zero buyer’s remorse!

Bose Acoustimass 6 Home Entertainment Speaker System – Black

I had a passive subwoofer previously on a patched together system. I was surprised how dramatic an improvement an actively powered subwoofer (at least one this big) can make. When the Rohan horses go thundering through in Lord of the Rings, I couldn’t believe the difference. The satellites provide really crisp sound and are quite unobtrusive (makes the wife happy). I think you have to be more careful about placing the speakers, though, to make a seamless sound field since they are so small.

Hook up was the easiest I’ve ever had, with all speaker cables factory labeled. One big cord runs to the amp outputs from the bass module, and simple plugs run from the bass module to your speakers.

One caution- you’ll need Bose wall brackets to hang these from your walls since the back of the satellites are threaded for a screw. I used to hang my previous speakers from heavy-duty picture hangers!

Klipsch Synergy Quintet III Home Theater Speaker System (Set of Five Black)

Recently was over a friend’s house and noticed that he had a Bose system and was impressed with the sound. I had a Sony HTIB set up that I was not too crazy about but had to compromise because my wife is particular on how things look and will compromise perfomance. I decided to upgrade my system, but I wanted to do this without spending Bose money. I went with a Yamaha RX-V663 receiver and paired it with the Klipsch speakers. The results were beyond my expectations. The clarity of the sound was outstanding. The lows really come thru these speakers well. My wife’s jaw dropped when she heard the results. I recommend people to do the research and check out these speakers. Most people see the name “Bose” and buy into the name because of there exposure on TV and magazine adds. I believe I have better sound than a bose system for a fraction of the cost.

Pioneer PD-F407 25-Disc CD-File Changer

For the money this has proved to be a very nice CD Player, certainly better than the 5 disc changer it replaced. A few moire features would be nice, like reading the CD names into the display. With 25 CD’s it’s hard to keep track of what is where, but I didn’t want to spend a lot of money so really can’t complain. If you want lots of features this probably isn’t for you, but if like me you just want more music variety without constantly changing CD’s this is well worth the money.

Yamaha CDC-697BL 5-Disc Carousel-Type CD Changer

I was surprised how little user information was available on the web about 5 disk carousel changers.

I tried several higher end players (including Rotel, Denon, Sony, Onkyo/Integra and Marantz*) but I couldn’t get past the extremely long time it took to switch tracks between disks while in random/shuffle mode (15 to 20 seconds). The 17 year changer I was replacing could change tracks on different disks in 8 to 10 seconds (measured from the end of one song to the start of another on a different disk).

Yamaha got it right with the CDC-697. It matched the track change speed of my 17 year old changer. If you regularly listen to music in random/shuffle mode, this CD changer is the only one out there (in 2008) that can change tracks on different disks within a reasonable time (8-10 seconds vs 15-20 seconds). Nothing else I tried out there that could do that.

Yamaha also seems to have the best version of the disk exchange feature. All the players I tried allow you to change some of the disks while one disk is still playing but the Yamaha is the only one that lets you change 4 of the 5 disks (the fifth is still playing). The others only let you access 2 of the 5 disks to change.

I think Yamaha put more thought into the “changer” aspect of this model.

One other benefit is that the CDC-697 is one of the few CD changers that supports CD text.

I hope this helps others.

* I did not personally test the Marantz CC4001 but I was able to get someone on the DTVforum to check the timing for me.

Sony CDPCX355 300-Disc MegaStorage CD Changer

I’ve had this unit for about a year now without any problems. It was originally on a shelf with my 40lb amplifier sitting on top of it. Once I removed the 40lb amplifier away, the CDs start skipping. So I put in this tweak which I learned from an audio forum. Put 4 round glass marbles under the cd player using a small bottle cap or something to under the marbles to keep it from rolling away. This stopped the skipping.

Conlusion: The skipping is due to the vibration of the unit when the CD player is spinning and the problem is amplified by unit being so lightweight. By either adding more mass to the unit like putting something heavy on top of it or isolation using the marble trick or buy one of those audiophiles component spikes or damping feet.

Update: 9/24/2009.
After 5 years, this CD player still works beautifully. I’m not a fan of Sony products but this player has been with me for a long time and will still be my primary CD player. I do not notice scratches on CDs like others have mentioned. If you have skipping problems please try the suggestion I mentioned above. If you have CD loading problems, make sure the CD player is leveled as this is a vertical loader not the horizontal tray type typical found in smaller players.

TEAC PD-D2610 5-CD Carousel Changer with MP3 CD Playback

Excellent sound, little if any digital to analog distortion. Mechanism works well as expected. A friend said he didn’t know they still sell these old CD plalyers as he uses an Ipod dock. I find the sound quality slightly better than an Ipod dock. This CD player will handle MP3 music computer recorded in the data mode, which means that an ordinary CD can handle about 3 to 4 hours of songs. The shuffle mode works on data MP3 CDs. My only complaint, is that the CD player only shuffles one CD at a time. I would prefer to have it shuffle several times and then rotate to another CD. Also be careful when inserting the CD, as sloppy quick insertion can cause a jam up.

Pioneer PD-M426 6-Disc Magazine CD Player

This Pioneer magazine cd changer is the last of great home electronics products. The design is sleek and the sound is amazing. They focus on the fact that this is a cd changer and tried not to do more than what they should have. The fact that it is a magazine and not a carousel keeps my cd’s from being scrached or spinning freely making that horrible griding sound like in other cd changers. I would recommend this to anybody that wants a great and fun design, with great quality sound!

Onkyo DXC390 6 Disc CD Player

I bought an Onkyo C-390 refurb model a few months back and have had excellent results. I burn my own music CDs on blank CDR or CDRW media using the CD burner on my Home PC. The C-390 tracks everything I’ve thrown at it very accurately without a hitch. It even plays MP3 files burned onto CD. Plus the remote control unit is full featured and works flawlessly.

There are two digital connections, a digital fiber optic TOSlink and a digital coax connection on the back of the unit. I use the fiber optic TOSlink connection to my reciever. A digital connection will give you the purest output. There is also the typical analog RCA jack connection.

The only flaw I have to report is the carrousel makes a bit of a whirling noise when changing CDs. This is NOT reproduced through to the speakers but is simply low-level ambient room noise. Other than that one minor quibble I can give this CD Changer my highest recommendation.

Sherwood CDC5090R Front Loading Carousel Multi-Disc Player (Black)

I bought this CD player to replace a Harman/Kardon FL 8400. I was extremely happy with the HK unit and was planning on just buying another
until I read the many reviews of discontented owners who purchased the FL 8385. I spent days searching the internet for other 5 disc CD players, only to discover that in the sub $200 category there was no consensus best buy. That could very well change as more and more people discover the Sherwood 5090. It’s a very nice CD player . The sound quality is excellent. Sherwood has an audiophile reputation and it shows. Particularly noticable is how much better burned CD’s sound compared to my HK FL 8400. Random one disc works great with very little delay between tracks. Random all disc is a tad slow however and is a bit noisy. The remote control works great and is well laid out. Great fidelity out of the headphone jack but it lacks a volume control. Changing discs while one plays is very smooth and efficient, allowing access to two discs at a time with each push of the skip disc button .The tray slides smoothly as well.
The combination of features, performance, fidelity and price makes this unit hard to beat. Highly recommended.

Yamaha CD-C600BL 5-Disc CD Changer (Black)

The only reasons I wanted and bought the Yamaha CD-C600BL 5-Disc CD Changer was for its 24-bit digital/analog conversion rate and the 5-disc capacity. I never had better than 16-bit D/A cd or dvd players; I read reviews here that convinced me to get a 24-bit D/A player. I have two new Denon AV receivers and older NAD stereo equipment, plus high-quality loudspeakers; so I was eligible to notice very superior sound.

I can’t compare the Yamaha CD-C600BL 5-Disc CD Changer to any other 24-bit cd player because I haven’t listened to others with my systems.

The package includes a stereo RCA phono cable, a remote w/batteries, and a bare-bones user manual that covers everything in direct and simple language. The connections include one left/right RCA phono plug output, one optical (Toslink) digital output, and a RS-232C terminal. However, the optical cable isn’t included with the package (nor is a serial cable for the RS-232C connection).

I’ve connected the player via the (‘analog’) RCA cables and also using the optical Toslink cable. I notice no audible difference between the connections. Why should there be any difference, anyhow? The digital information on the cd has been converted to analog by the player so that the preamplifier and amplifier can process it, and then send it in analog form to the ‘analog’ speakers.

If the cd’s digital signal is destined to be input to another digital processor or device, the optical digital cable would be the best way to make that connection (well, there’s also a RS-232C terminal, but it’s not as pure as the optical handshake).

In essence, connecting with the RCA plugs makes a perfect connection, just as perfect as the ‘digital’ optical cable makes.

The sound is obviously superior to 16-bit D/A players. Some meaningful sounds that weren’t audible are now audible; previously audible sounds no longer have any masking.

There must be one of those laws that applies here, but I don’t know of it: For each improvement in quality – more watts in a high-end amplifier, minimal harmonic distortion, full frequency response, precise loudspeakers, 24-bit digital-to-analog conversion rate – you can listen to the full sound at a lower volume. It saves your hearing in the long run.

Sure, the changer makes its mechanical noise when it rotates each disc into the laser reader. Vinyl record changers made more noise than that when the needle reached the label and jerked off the record (haha), when the tone arm swung out of the way and the next record plopped down – hey, if you couldn’t hear anything mechanical, your heart would be in your throat hoping nothing is broken. As I write this, the Yamaha cd changer is only some two feet from my ears, and I happen to like the sound of its carousel.

Be careful, though, when the tray is open as you’re adding or removing discs – the tray could close from your inadvertent pressure; it spins and closes fast; you could break a valuable fingernail on a guitar-playing finger.

Being an old hand with home audio gear, I can’t say if there’s anything difficult about the Yamaha’s set-up and use. I’d say it’s designed and made to be as plug-and-play as possible. For anyone who has passed the Audio 101 course, the Yamaha CD-C600BL 5-Disc CD Changer is super-intuitive. You know, buttons with arrows this way, arrows that way, and so on (or off). The product’s name speaks for itself: Yamaha Natural Sound Compact Disc Changer.

Onkyo C-S5VL C-S5VL Super Audio CD/CD Player

I listen to classical music and have almost a thousand CD collections. I own a number of CD players as well as dedicated DACs. To my ears Onkyo C-S5VL is the first CD player that is able to reproduce the violins in orchestra as “violins”. You could almost hear them being played individually as a group without sounding harsh nor bright. My Spendor BC1 now sounds almost up to its full potential. Many believe Wolfson WM8742 DAC is the best there is in terms of digital to analog conversion. Oh did I say C-S5VL also plays SACD. IMO a good recording of SACD disc with Onkyo C-S5VL is hard to beat. Heads off to Onkyo for the making of a good sounding affordable CD/SACD player.

**update**
I have this player for about 4 months. The strength of this player is its ability to select and use one of five different advanced digital filters that come with WM8742 (applicable to CD only, SACD uses different filters). Out of the five filters, the most notable one is Minimum Phase Anti-Alias Apodising filter (FIL 4). Minimum Phase Anti-Alias Apodising filter is regarded by many as a major break through in improving digital media play back quality in recent years (a filter of a similiar kind is implemented in Meridian 808.2 by a 150 MIPS processor and expensive customary circuitry). This particular filter not only removes the pre-echo artifact that is commonly associated with conventional CD players but also sweep away the digital “glare” that we have almost come to accept as inevitable when listening to music of digital media. To my ears when FIL 4 is employed musical instruments exhibit consistent and substantial improvement in timber, clarity, definition, and tonality. The resulting sound signature is close being analogue. Onkyo C-S5VL enables me to enjoy the music even after hours of listening.

Crosley CR247-PA Composer CD Recorder (Paprika)

The Crosley Composer is bit pricey, but it is possible to find a decent deal online. I bought this rather than the Songwriter because it has a few more bells and whistles for the same price.

Who will like the Composer: If you are MP3-literate, or you have a decent stereo and your computer is up to date, chances are you will not need the Composer as you can just get the software to run on your PC. If you are an audiophile interested in cleaning up and restoring/recording your LP’s to perfection, this probably isn’t for you either, as the “cleanup” is limited to a pre-set equalizer with five options (flat, classical, pop, jazz, rock). BUT – if you are, like me, someone who doesn’t want to shell out for a whole new computer and/or needed a new turntable anyway, I can’t recommend the Composer highly enough. It is easy to use, and in my opinion the results are extremely satisfying.

Aside from the PC/turntable issues, my LP collection is extensive and eclectic enough that it would have cost a fortune to replace it on CD’s and 75% of the stuff is not, and probably never will be, available on CD; hence the Composer came out as the most practical & affordable option. A friend has this unit so I was able to hear a sample before buying. I’m not a high-end audiophile but I wanted proper stereo recording, good clean sound quality & easy operation. The turntable accommodates 33, 45 ad 78 speeds.

The sound quality of the CDR’s is as good as, if not slightly better, than that of the albums. Let me be clear: if you treated your LP’s badly or your cassettes are starting to sound muddy, their faults will not be erased, but they won’t sound any worse, and the results may pleasantly surprise you. The pre-set equalizer settings do a nice job of adjusting the sound for the requirements of each style. There is a “track skip” button to make the machine recognize the breaks between songs so you can have a separate track for each one, or you can just let the whole album side record as one track. If you use the skip feature, you will definitely need to practice with it to get the hang of the timing and when to push the button so you don’t cut off the end or beginning of a song. When recording LPs I found that the “track skip” delay matched the gap on the album 8 times out of 10, so I usually stay nearby and lift the tone arm just a little and just for a second, to give the CDR recorder time to adjust. If you have two songs that blend together with no break, it’s best to let them record as one track. You can also stop the unit to turn over an album or cassette and resume recording in a new track. Lastly, there is a simple “Finalize” button which completes the writing of the file to the CDR (don’t forget this step!).

The Composer model also records from cassettes via a built-in unit. Some reviews warn that this component “breaks after a few uses”; I have done about 40 cassettes so far with no problem. My experience is that the open/close mechanism is a mediocre plastic door and it does stick a little sometimes (no worse than other cassette players I’ve had), but with a minimal amount of patience and finesse rather than force, you can resolve this problem when it happens. Even so, since the unit has an AUX input, you can probably plug in an external tape deck so it really isn’t an issue.

As with LP’s, if you are transferring a commercially pre-recorded cassette, there may be ample time between tracks for the “track skip” to register. If not you can either stop the tape for a second or just let Side 1 be Track 1 and Side 2 be Track 2. If you made a few favorite old “road mix” tapes and crammed every available mm of tape with sound, chances are you did not leave enough time for “track skip” to work, so let the side run.

I strongly urge you to get a few cheap CDR’s with which to practice using the unit and its features – at least practice two or three times with the timing on the “track skip” with both an LP and a cassette before you attempt a recording on an archive-quality CDR. It will take about four minutes to read the user’s manual. Replacement parts are also available from Crosley. Once you get the hang of using this unit, you will have an absolute blast getting reacquainted with your LP’s. Enjoy.

Marantz CD5004 CD Player (Black)

Let me start by saying that I am more of an analogue fan (I like the warm natural sound of lps). I also play bass so I like systems which can reproduce this instrument well.
I needed to replace a Carver 490t which after 20 years of use was starting to fail. I wanted something that sounded pretty good and that the kids could abuse.
This unit fits the bill. The Marantz CD5004 does not quite compare with my previous CD which has tubes and which was an exceptional unit for it era. I must say it however comes pretty close. The Carver was $1,200 when I bought it so I did not expect the Marantz could match it and it does not. Doing a side by side test reveals that the Carver is more musical and that it offers a larger sound stage. Its highs are also more natural and less sizzling. The bass is richer and more profound. The overall tone is warmer and more musical. All this is easy to notice with jazz or classical music. When it comes to rock and dance music, the Marantz does quite well because it actually beats the Carver for dynamics. The CD5004 is a hard hitting unit without being fatiguing to the ear. Doing a blind listening test, I could easily sort the Marantz from the Carver with jazz but not with rock.
I guess it speaks volume for Marantz that a $350 unit would come close to a $1,200 unit that was well rated for its era. Note also that the differences I describe can be heard if you pay attention and if you listen to this CD player on a good system. I tend to believe that anybody short of an audiophile would be quite satisfied with this CD player. It offers an amazing value for its price.
I added this review because there is very little written on this CD player.

Marantz CC4003 5 Disc CD Changer (Black)

I’ve always had mass-market cd players before, figured digital is digital, and never realized the difference that a higher quality player can make. This Marantz is a revelation. It brings my cds alive with a depth, vibrance, and clarity that I’ve never heard before. It’s also quite stylish, with the trademark Marantz curved edges. The buttons on the front of the unit are a bit small and obscure, but I like the remote. It’s got excellent functionality and the buttons are nicely sized. So far, my only quibble is that when you stop a cd in the middle it does not start back up at the same place, but goes all the way back to the beginning. And the changer tray seems potentially delicate. I’ll keep my fingers crossed on that one. Overall, I am very happy with this purchase.

Sony RCDW500C Compact Disc Player / Recorder

When it works it’s an awesome piece of Sony engineered home audio recording equipment…When it doesn’t it’s scrap pile. I can sympathize why some reviewers might have chucked theirs in the dumpster…

The first one I bought had some serious locking up issues;It just malfunctioned on the same day I purchased it.It even trapped one of my cd’s inside;to retrieve the cd back was no small feat without almost busting a knuckle.As I found out after removing the cover that space for the elevator/built in cartridge exchange mechanism is pretty tight. If you ever get a cd stuck in there, good luck!I immediately exchanged it for one that worked properly at my local electronics dealer.

This one has worked flawlesly for me for the past two years without failure ! I have not encountered any finalizing issues. Sony has crammed the RCDW500C with loads of features and then some. The only minor complaints I have is that you have to really read the manual from top to bottom,left to right, then try to memorize what some of it’s hidden functions are to get the most from this unit. The flourescent digital readout display is not user friendly. Also, the internal cd exchanging mechanism is very noisy and clunky for being a Sony.Previously, I owned a Philips carousel model that was extremely quiet and smooth in it’s mechanical operations and playback/recording functions.The downside of the Philips model was that it lacked the 4 times recording speed and the six cd holding capacity that I’m thrilled about with the Sony! Yet, it’s(Philips) flourescent display readout was extremely user friendly and easy to read.It literally would tell you in text exactly what you needed to know and what function it was performing or instruct you what you needed to do to achieve optimum recording results.It would guide you practically step by step in words on the display and not numbers or codes. The Sony doesn’t—it’s all just digital display numbers and codes(save that Sony instruction manual and guard it with your life!!). However, it gets the job done and then some with flying colors…I use mine mainly for vinyl to cd-r transfers and the results are awesome! Sonically, the music sounds much more crisp, clear and sharp than the original analog source.I don’t even use the SuperBit Mapping feature to enhance the sound;doesn’t need it.Also, the fact it can hold 6 cds for playback is incredible and versatile. Some of the functions, whether necessary or mere bells and whistles, are a pleasure to have and use.

If the readout display was easier to read,certain “hidden” button/rotary knob functions better laid out on the unit’s fascia and the exchange mechanism quieter, this would definitely qualify as Sony’s flagship CD-R machine and get a 5 star vote from me…

Crosley CR248-CH Songwriter CD Recorder (Cherry)

We bought this because we wanted to be able to put our old records onto discs. It does this very well. It also will put cassettes onto discs, but we haven’t tried that yet. It plays records, cassettes, discs, and radio also. It’s a good machine with one exception: the sound quality of its speakers is quite poor. However, by turning off its sound and routing it through our own speakers, it sounds fine. Only other quibble is that the remote isn’t so easy or intuitive to use, takes some learning to figure out. Overall, we are really glad we bought this item and it is doing just what we needed.

Crosley CR248 Songwriter CD Recorder – Paprika

We bought this because we wanted to be able to put our old records onto discs. It does this very well. It also will put cassettes onto discs, but we haven’t tried that yet. It plays records, cassettes, discs, and radio also. It’s a good machine with one exception: the sound quality of its speakers is quite poor. However, by turning off its sound and routing it through our own speakers, it sounds fine. Only other quibble is that the remote isn’t so easy or intuitive to use, takes some learning to figure out. Overall, we are really glad we bought this item and it is doing just what we needed.

Sony SCD-CE595 5-Disc CD/Super Audio CD Player

Sony hit a home run with this, the best SACD player on the market for the average guy making the switch to super audio. When I changed from stereo to SACD I first bought one of those player that does both SACD and DVD. Nyet!

I don’t care much about DVD and music is a large part of my life. I have collected classical recordings for 35 years and wanted to hear what those hybrid SACDs had to offer in SACD. My first experience was a nightmare; then I bought this machine.

Today I’ve listened to the Bach “St. Matthew Passion” highlights, Berlioz’ “Symphonie Fantastique” and, now, Bach’s “Two and Three Part Inventions” by Glenn Gould. Each of these SACDs delivers something a little different — the Bach was made last year and is true surround sound; the Berlioz was recorded in 1959 and is three channel without surround sound; the Bach, recorded in 1964, is SACD in stereo only.

But each of these recordings, when played on this machine, sounds like they were made yesterday. This machine is easy to set up, easy to use, delivers great sound and has five disk trays so you can load it and play it all day long.

This is an excellent machine for people that want to hear SACD disks and doesn’t cost much at most places. You’ll like it and you’ll really like the sound it produces for you.

Panasonic SC-HC40 Compact Stereo System

So maybe the packing box is still in my office and I still listening the the first couple of albums, but I’m quite happy so far. The system required a minimum of setup and all of it was intuitive. Ok, maybe I had to skim over the directions for linking and paring it to my Droid, but everything else was a breeze.

The sound is pretty good. I can adjust the simpistic EQ along with the bass and treble to compensate for my upper frequency hearing loss. The volume is enough to rattle the windows and I’ll be adding “Inna Gadda Da Vida” to my Droid as an “acid test.”

I like this little stereo. I takes very little room, looks clean, and is jammed with feaures–plays CDs, AM/FM, connects to a variety of sources with Bluetooh, and has an I-anything (almost) dock.

Unless it shuts down or blows up within the next couple of years or so, it’s a keeper.

Sony CMTBX20i Micro Hi-Fi Shelf System (Black)

I purchased this model at Best Buy for $109 after trying and returning an all-in-one Memorex shelf unit that was more expensive. I should remember that for the future, “Sony no baloney.” I have a larger Sony component system for the past 16 years which never gave me any trouble. I like this model for the following reasons:

1. Good sound. 50w total power makes a big difference compared with lower rated shelf systems. It will definitely fill a room without putting it on maximum volume.
2. Elegant design and white display. Shows clock when unit is powered off on standby.
3. Controls are easy to figure out on unit and on remote control.
4. CD is sliding tray type on the front. Not the top loading type with a button in the center. I hate those.
5. Headphones jack is in the front where I want it.

Be aware though, that the “EQ” is really just treble and bass controls from -4 to +4. There is no balance control. This was not really a disappointment. The sound is great.

What I didn’t like was minor:
1, The rear of the particle board speakers is not painted like the black enclosure. Depending on where you place the system it might not look as nice. You could always paint them yourself. I put mine where you won’t see this. If you put these speakers on a shelf, you won’t notice.

2. The supplied AM antennae is ok, but the FM antenna is just a single wire that attaches to a coax terminal. I could not get much reception where I put the unit. But that’s much better than systems that just have a single non-detachable wire coming out. Because, with the coax terminal I attached a $10 RCA FM/VHF/UHF antennae which works fine.

All in all I still give it 5 stars because it does the job for me with no headache.

Sony CMT-LX20i 10W RMS Total Power Output Micro Hi-Fi Shelf System

I was not certain of the value for money when I purchased the Sony CMT Hi Fi but from the reviews on Amazon I thought it was a safe purchase. I must say it more then met my expectations, the unit is compact but well designed and took up 1/3 less space than the unit it replaced (a “boombox” with two separate speakers) and weighed 2/3rds less. The sound quality is equal if not better and the iPod docking unit is seamless to use. I was impressed with the digital radio and the CD player is probably the least of the package but still works well. Overall I am very satisfied with the product.

Panasonic SC-HC20 Compact Stereo System

I was looking for an IPOD dock and found so much more in this little stereo system. I couldn’t find any reviews on this but I own other Panasonic products and thought I’d give it a try and am glad I did. It has a recharging dock/player for an IPOD or IPhone, a CD player, a radio and a clock! Its sleek and good-lookin’, small enough to fit on my dresser but has the power to send music throughout my second floor. I’m very picky when it comes to sound and was kind of worried that since I didn’t spend over $100 that I wasn’t going to be able to find something with great sound but this doesn’t disappoint! Clear and crisp – I’ve heard layers of music on this that I don’t hear from my bigger, much more expensive stereo system. This is a great little multi-tasker!

Sony MHC-EC709iP Mini Hi-Fi Shelf System

I brought a Thievery Corporation CD to Frye’s and tested every system in there. This had the best sound for the money BY FAR. I like my music to have powerful base and thought about getting the same system with the sub woofer, but the highs and mids were not clear on that one. This unit had great comprehensive sound–clear mids and highs with great base. All of the other systems in this price range couldn’t handle high volume and had around 150-170W, but this one maintained good sound as loud as I could turn it because of the 360W. The only drawback is that it’s a little bigger than I wanted for a shelf system.

JVC UX-PL5 CD Micro Component System

I’m what one might call an audiophile. I used to own a set of the renowned crystaline ESS speakers, $400.00 a piece list price. The Audio Technica phono cartridge on our direct-drive turntable alone was $250.00 retail. Our first receiver driving the wall-rattling pair was a 60-watts per channel JvC with 5-band graphic equalizer, also $600.00 list. It finally burnt out after 16 years, and the speakers and new Pioneer entertainment receiver got stolen during a move, but we always remember the quality sound and features, hence the decision to go with a JVC mini stereo. Though the UX-LP5 can’t be expected to compare to its predecessor, it’s about all our 12- by 14-feet studio apartment can handle. 70 watts maximum, relatively powerful for systems this size, is certainly loud enough. I don’t notice any distortion at high volume. The small black laminate on particle board bass reflex speakers are a testimony to recent advances in electronic technology, being no longer the tinny, staticy things you would expect, but decent, filling the room well acoustically with their upthrusted design. Maybe the lower frequencies are a tad muffy and fall more in the class of bass “impression” rather than bass boom, but you can’t get any better for the incredibly low price of this system. The Turbo Sound and Hyper Bass–akin to “loudness” on older sets–enhance them well enough. If you want better, you could probably upgrade to a pair of quality bookshelf speakers for an extra hundred. 35 watts per channel should be enough to obtain the full volume and frequency range in most makes of roughly equal size, but be sure to check the manual for the minimum power requirements. Optimum wattage should fall at least halfway between the minimum and maximum specifications, but don’t quote me on that. As for the UX-LP5’s other features, pretty good. Unlike some of the other new models on the market, it still has AM radio, a must in emergency broadcast situations. There are both AM and FM wired antennas you can place in different locations for the best reception. The CD/MP3 player sounds fine. We don’t have an I-Pod to test the handy drop-down dock. The mini Headphone and Audio In (aka AUX) jacks are conveniently located on the front panel. Our small HDTV has only perfunctory internal speakers, and we were pleased to harness the micro stereo ones for some semblance of a cinema effect via a 2-way male mini headphone jack connected from the TV’s headphone jack to Audio In. There is also a Video Out receptor in back of the unit to view I-Pod music videos on an external monitor. We hate the tiny, primitive, hard-to-operate remote. Headphone sound quality and separation are disappointing, and the blue “Demo” light display only dims temporarily, but you can’t have it all!!!

GPX HM3817DTBLK Vertical Home Music System with CD Player (Black)

This stereo is a good size for thr desk or any small place. Be aware that the speakers do not attach and there is no bal control for the speakers. Sound is not very bassy but the speakers are small…4″ dia. but otherwise they sound good. Nice features , remote is small and handy.
I still recommend this stereo for the Money.

Panasonic SC-HC30 Compact Stereo System

I purchased this sleek Panasonic Stereo System primarily to use with my IPOD and the IPhone that I have pre-ordered. I am using it in the kitchen and it takes up very little space on the counter since it is only 3-4 inches deep. For it’s size, it produces a rich sound and the clarity of the speakers is superb. It has a full-function remote with buttons for many features that I’m sure I’ll never use that others might appreciate. In addition to the remote, there are buttons for the main functions on top of the system that can be easily memorized (by placement) and accessed.

After attaching the AM and FM antennas, the various stations were easy to preset and sounded good. I have yet to play the CD player, however with the IPOD, I don’t really plan on using it much. The system can be mounted to the wall if you want to put holes in your walls and have the power chord hanging down from it, however it takes up so little space, I didn’t really feel the need.

The system looks high-tech and it sounds great. The bass sounds much better than you would expect given the slimness of the speakers. It has an AUX-In port on the back of it if you have an MP3 player as well. The only minor negative is accessing the IPOD dock. The first thing you need to do is hit the IPOD button which slides the front panel to the right exposing the IPOD dock. Once open, it has a lever that needs to be pushed and then it tilts out toward you for easy removal. While not difficult, it all takes time which I’m a little concerned about when I get my IPhone and I hear it ring. If you leave the IPOD dock open the silver CD portion of the front panel covers more than half of the right speaker and there is a noticable difference in sound.

All in all, I’m very happy with it and when not in use, it just sits there and looks cool! If you are only concerned about the quality of sound, I’d suggest a boom box with larger speakers such as the Sony MHC-EC69i Mini Hi-Fi Shelf System which is much cheaper, has an additional 60 watts and has a deeper bass sound that fills up a room (I have one of these as well).

7/19/10 UPDATE: Received my pre-ordered IPhone 4 and it is not compatible with the dock in the Panasonic. It displays “NODEVICE” despite being snuggly fit into place. Plan B: Buy an IPOD dock and an audio cable and plug it into the AUX port on the back of the unit. Still sounds great!

Sony MHC-EC909iP Mini hi-fi music system

I have had this now for about a month, using it as much as 12 hours a day each and every day and must say that the sound I receive from it is exceptional. The large woofer (nearly the size of the main speakers combined) gives all the bass that I desire (and I love good, deep bass) while the sound production from the main speakers is as accurate as can be. I most definitely give this stereo a glowing review and recommend it to anyone who is looking for a bookshelf system.

In response to those who say that the cords are too short, all I can say is that this is a bookshelf stereo: it is meant to go into or on top of a bookcase, not be spread around the room. It is there for providing sound, not a full home theater experience. If what one wants is a home theater, get a home theater system. One must use the right tools for the job, after all.

One warning I will give is that the CD player is on the top of the receiver and, as such, one must be careful about applying any pressure to the top when removing the unit from the box and when setting it up. I wish they had made it just a wee bit taller and used a standard front-loading tray instead of a pop-up lid over the CD mechanism but that is the only design snag (not a flaw but just something that should be reconsidered) I see.

Sony LBT-ZX66i iPod Ready Mini Shelf System

I’ve been listening to my new Sony LBT-ZX66i for the past 3 hours. It does everything it claims to do and does it well. Unlike last year’s equivalent model which had a (now obsolete) cassette deck, this year’s model gives you a much more useful iPOD dock.(for most full-sized iPODs, such as my iPOD Classic, you can insert your iPOD directly into the LBT-ZX66i’s dock. Some older or smaller iPOD’s may require an adaptor)
The Sony features a 5-disc carousel-type CD changer, an iPOD dock & AM/FM radio, plus the ability to do Karaoke(there’s two microphone inputs via quarter inch plug) and a headphone output which uses full sized quarter inch headphone plug.
This system is powerful and clean, and the “X-Groove” button will provide the outrageous thumping that your disco,rap, hip-hop & Dance music enthusiast craves. But here an important difference: unlike many similar systems from other manufacturers, when the thumping mode(“X-Groove”) is switched off, the LBT-ZX-66i can provide clear,natural sound, with crisp midrange and highs for those of us who prefer rock, pop,jazz and other types of music. Believe me: even without the added thumping, the LBT-ZX-66i is no slouch in the bass department. The 3-way speakers(with horn-loaded tweeters) are better than you would normally get in a system of this type.
There are number of effects modes optimized for various types of music(Rock,Pop, Salsa,Reggae,Dance,Jazz,Samba,Tango). “Rock” seems to yield the clearest and most natural sound. There’s also a simulated surround mode(which I have yet to try), and a 3-band digital equalizer(you can create your own custom E.Q. settings in the unit’s memory). I’ll eventually experiment with these features. And if you have a turntable, there’s a phono input. Programming the FM/AM tuner was easy and the reception and sound quality was fine.
My only complaint is this: the remote control is a bit too basic. There are too many features of the LBT-ZX66i which can’t be controlled from the remote control. These features(including the effects modes) can only be selected from the main unit’s front panel.
I normally wouldn’t comment on the merchant here in a product review,but I’ll say this:I’ve had a great experience buying from “J&R Music World” for the past 29 years, whether directly, or more recently through Amazon. After buying a Plasma T.V. from J&R(via Amazon) and seeing J&R drop the price $200 lower ten days later, I contacted J&R, who gave me a $200 store credit, which I used towards this Sony compact stereo system.
One other thing:this system is fairly large. It is not exactly a shelf system, but if you’ve got room for it, then go for it. You won’t be disappointed. Not that many companies are making this sort of system anymore(JVC doesn’t make systems of this size & power any more), but Sony can make this sort of system better. The manufacturing quality is excellent, and it’s got enough features that can either be used or not used, so it can be tailored to produce good sound no matter what your musical tastes are.
AS AN UPDATE TO THE ABOVE:The effects modes CAN be selected on the remote control, via a button called “EQ”.
Important additional note: if you are planning on playing CD-R’s on this unit, I would advise you to try a few of your CD-R’s on this unit before buying. While the LBT-ZX66i had no problem playing CD-R’s that I recorded on my rack mount pro audio CD recorder or CD’s that I recorded on my iMAC computer, I have hundreds of CD’s that were recorded by my friend on several PC’s that he’s owned over the past 5 years. None of these discs can be played on the LBT-ZX66i(which cannot read the table of contents on these discs). The LBT-ZX66i is one of 14 pieces of equipment(and one of four Sony products) in my home which can play CD’s, and the only one that can’t play these PC-burned CD-R’s. All of these CD-R’s feature standard CD Audio.

Audiovox XMAS100 XM Compact Sound System

OK, so this is not a BOSE unit. You can tell because it says Audiovox on it. So don’t expect a BOSE sound system. That said, this is a nice little system. I even bought two. We have one in our office and one in our kitchen. They provide nice background music, and if we need to party down a little, they sound good turned up as well. If you want something to push your wineglass off the table as you sit there, better go with something else, but if you just want a portable sound system for your XM radio, this is a great option.

Bose Wave Radio II – Graphite Gray

The Bose Wave Radio II is easy to use, has top-of-the-line speakers and has a high-quality build. I use mine as a TV stereo speaker. The auxiliary input works for that function and what I like is that it doesn’t take up a lot of space next to the TV. Indeed, incredible sound for the size of the speakers. So why only four stars, not five? Because the Bose, for all the money it costs, is not a top radio performer. It has only average AM reception with its internal ferrite antenna and worse its FM relies on the power cord for what is truly a lame “antenna.” So as a speaker, the Bose is great but as a radio it is well below par. For hooking up to your TV, the Bose is outstanding. But as a bedside radio? No way. You would be better off buying a 159-dollar Sangean WR-2, a 259-dollar Sangean HDR-1, a 159-dollar Eton Sound 100 (my favorite for its retro look) or a 159-dollar Tivoli Songbook for your bedside. But if you’re integrating the Bose into your TV home entertainment system and you don’t mind spending the money and you’re not fastidious about your FM reception, then you will enjoy the Bose.

Sony MHC-EC69i Mini Hi-Fi Shelf System with Integrated iPod Dock 100W

For $119.00 you can’t go wrong. I can see the display fine. The only con I can find is the EQ is ROCK, FLAT , MP3. That kind of stuff I like more control with my EQ. Sony makes some of the best audio sound on the market for the price. If your a low end buyer stick to sony and only sony.

Audiovox XMBB1 XM Compact Sound System

The Audiovox XMBB1 is an good addition to my xm radio accessories. With the various radio adaptors I can attach any xm radio I may purchase in the future or that my friends or family may have. The sound quality is very good and the amount of volume out of these little speakers surprised me. If you leave the antenna attached to the back of the radio make sure it is pointed in a southern direction or else the signal tends to waver. Fortunately it has a generous length of cable so you can detach it and place the antenna anywhere for a good signal. The addition of a auxillary audio input jack allows you to hook up an mp3 player which I find nice to have. The only thing that I wish was added to this radio would be a remote to control the audio level for the XMBB1, but if you have a remote for your xm radio you should be able to have control over changing stations and some volume control. Overall I’m glad to have made this purchase and would recommend it to other who would like a portable sound system for their xm radio.

RCA RS2768I 5-CD System with iPod Dock

Sound is okay. My complaint is, I chose this unit to be able to load 5 disks and shuffle amongst all 5. Nowhere on the box, or in the instructions, does it tell you that the unit will only shuffle play one disk at a time. To me this is misleading, as I have never owned a multi-disk unit for the car or the house, that didn’t shuffle play among all disks that were loaded. If this isn’t important to you, then this is a decent unit.

Yamaha MCR-040DG Micro Component System (Dark Gray)

I originally chose this product for someone else, who tasked me to find a great bookcase stereo to give as a gift. I ordered it and received it within two days via Amazon Prime. I installed and tested it on Christmas Day. It truly exceeded my expectations in every way. Very attractive layout and veneer, intuitive controls, solid feel, great sound quality. I tested the radio first, then the CD player, then the iPod dock. In all three cases, the performance was very impressive for such a small system. I would compare this very favorably to the Bose system that gets so much advertising. I’ve listened to that system in several peoples’ homes and although it’s a good system, I feel the sound quality and appearance of this Yamaha system is superior.

I liked it so much that I immediately ordered a system for our home. I ordered the green color for my friend, but I went with red for our home. It’s beautiful and looks very sharp. My wife and I both have iPhones, and we use this system to play our music libraries. It comes with a remote control, which is in itself a very nice little unit. Flawless performance and function. I really have nothing negative to say about this system. It is priced very fairly for its performance, build quality, and appearance. I see another reviewer commented that the speakers cannot be placed adjacent to the unit due to heat buildup. I don’t get this at all. The unit never gets hot, and the speakers are placed exactly as shown in the product photographs, that is to say “attached” to the main unit. There are zero issues with heat. I love this little system and I’m sure anyone who takes the chance on one without physically seeing one in the store will be delighted. Anyone have any comments on their experiences or questions, feel free to leave a comment.

Pioneer VSX-1020-K 7.1 Home Theater Receiver

I picked up a 1020 over the weekend. I have been building custom cabinetry and needed a slimmer (and cooler) receiver for our secondary viewing room and the 1020 seemed to fit the bill in large part based upon a pleasant experience with the 919/1019 and the elite 21.

For reference, the 1020 is replacing an Onkyo 1007, which I really enjoyed, but was a bit big for the cabinet and largely unused with a baby’s bedroom nearly adjacent to the area. Keep in mind, the Onkyo weighs 52 lbs and draws nearly 11 amps – not a fair fight between the two.

In comparison to the 1019/919 (which powers my second and third zones), the 1020 looks very similar, but Pioneer removed the blue led power button (they did the same with the bdp-320 from the 51fd last year as well). The front panel buttons have been reconfigured slightly, but overall the two look very similar.

I have the 1020 configured as 5.1 plus wides. The speaker setup was pretty easy, but it appears that setting it up as normal plus wides would prevent you from operating Zone 2 despite the manual saying the contrary.

In terms of audio quality, the receiver sounds very good and similar to the 1019/919. That said, when turned louder (say -5db), it appears to lose its legs a bit sooner than the 1019. I heard a bit more distortion in playing music loudly (i was alternating the same speakers and source via speaker switch before I had the two connected). That said, I would think most folks would not be able to tell a difference at normal volume levels, but the power draw cut from last year does seem to manifest itself at loud levels in my amateurish testing. Please do not try to pull every thread in my comparison – just an average guy comparing the two side by side.

Running MCACC was as simple as other pioneer models, but the system did seem to be a bit too generous as to the speaker size of the speakers in my setup (audyssey classified them as small and set the individual speaker crossovers at 100hz). I have been using the wide listening mode and have found it reasonably effective in providing a broader sound array for the wide room. I will need more critical listening time to compare it to Audyssey DSX’s wide presence processing mode. Overall, I am pleased with the sound quality of the 1020, but it could benefit by a bit more power. I would caution about tying to drive large or inefficient speakers with this receiver if your listening preferences are very loud.

The remote is an improvement in that it is learning, but a step back in dark room navigation. Yes the keys glow in the dark, but labels are small and difficult to quickly identify. It is miles ahead of Denon’s odd remotes, but lacks some of the simple and easy to identify buttons of Onkyo.

The receiver has run cooly, which is an improvement from the space-heater my Onkyo could be.

The receiver does offer a really good listening experience for a very light (and presumably efficient) unit. That said, I do lament a few things: onscreen osd – at least volume/source/audio codec; a slightly ergonomic remote; and assignable speakers to let you customize presence and zone 2.

Pioneer VSX-820-K 5.1 Home Theater Receiver

After trying a Denon, and two Yamaha’s, I finally hit gold with the Pioneer VSX-820.
This is a superb receiver in all regards. It produces clear crisp sound in all modes.
There are no lip synch issues at all when linked to my HDTV. I had terrible lip synch problems with the Denon. It has all the features I need and more and has an excellent remote that is both intuitive and comprehensive. I use my receiver for CD’s, FM radio and my Samsung HDTV. I use DishNetwork for my TV programming.

The VSX series is Pioneer’s newest and includes several models all the way up to the 1120.
However, when you read the specs, all these receivers have the same tuner and power plant. The higher the model number, the more numerous the features. But no increase in output.
That makes for an easier buying decision. You don’t compromise power for features if you chose a mid range model like the 820 or 920. I noticed that the Denon and Yamaha receivers I tried were made in China. The Pioneers are made in Japan. I’ll go with Japan for high quality electronics every time. Pioneer has hit a homerun with this new series of receivers.

Onkyo TX-SR608 7.2-Channel Home Theater Receiver (Black)

As others have said, the two 1 star reviews do not review this new Onkyo 608 (makes no sense to me).

Anyway, I absolutely love my new Onkyo 608. I never review stuff, but I wanted to give props to this receiver. I was debating between this one and the new Pioneer 1020. However, I’ve heard that the amps in the Pioneers don’t compare to the amps in the Onkyos. Though I cannot verify the truth of this, I do believe that the amp in the Onkyo is of a very high quality. I have already noticed a tremendous amount of power increase over my previous Yamaha receiver (the model that was included with the Yamaha 390 HTIB). This puts out a lot more sound, and I absolutely love the ability to take advantage of HD audio. I noticed a huge fidelity difference in the compressed Dolby Digital track for Dark Knight and the Dolby True HD. The track was intended to include a lot of bass, and the HD includes all of it. The regular Dolby did not compare. Thus, HD audio is definitely worth having if you own a blu-ray player. Just like video quality (some transfers are better than others; aka reference quality), not all sound tracks will have a huge difference, but to me, it’s still worth it. Back to the Onkyo: I love it. There are so many settings that you can tweak. If you like the ability to configure your equipment, you will love this receiver! You can also bi-amp with this receiver, which is nice if you don’t have 7 speakers.

Onkyo TX-SR308 5.1-Channel Home Theater Receiver (Black)

Was looking to upgrade my onkyo 6.1 receiver that I purchased 7 years ago. I came across this model at a local electronic store and was blown away by the sound and price.

It will decode DTS-HD Master audio and Dolby True HD. Which is important to me, because I just moved over to blu-ray and wanted the best sound possible for play back. I hooked up my new sony BDP-S570 blu-ray player and put in Avatar as a test movie. I running a HDMI cable to the Onkyo and a HDMI out to the TV. When the movie finally started, I couldn’t get DTS-HD Master audio to come on the receiver. After some research you need to make sure your DVD player is not decoding the audio and sending it to your reciver to decode. Once I got this fixed and saw the DTS-HD master audio I was very impressed. My kids stopped what they were doing and came over to HEAR the movie and not just watch like last time.

Again, This Onkyo rec is a Great buy for under $300 and is also future proof for when 3D TV goes main stream in the next year of so.

P.S. Currently run my Cable box, PS3 and Blu-ray player via HDMI and all work very well with sound and picture.

Yamaha RX-V667 7.2-Channel Home Theater Receiver (Black)

I’ve always been impressed by Yamaha products and this receiver is no exception. It’s a 7.2 channel receiver that packs an insane amount of features into a modest price.

Before I made the purchase, I called Yamaha’s customer service guys and asked them a few questions and they were able to answer everything for me. I got right to a person who spoke English and they knew their products (and actually said they had a full lab for testing stuff).

So I bought the receiver and hooked it up to my 3D TV setup, along with my Wii (component), X-box 360 (HDMI), DirecTV DVR (HDMI), Yamaha YDS-12 iPod dock and 3D Blu-ray player (HDMI). It was easy to install and I still have plenty of HDMI inputs left for future expansion. I ran the YPAO auto setup and it was over before I came back from getting a snack in the kitchen. It properly detected all of my 7.2 speakers and everything appears to be working as intended.

I must say that I really love the onscreen GUI menu. It’s an animated display that overlays on top of whatever I’m watching, including the 3D content from DirecTV and my BD player.

I wanted a receiver with a powered Zone 2 so I could run a pair of speakers on my porch and this receiver handles that task no problem. Setup was easy, I just followed the PDF owner’s manual that came in the box.

I haven’t tried the HDMI Audio Return Channel yet, but I do plan on using it in the future.

Sony STR-DH510 5.1-Channel Home Theater Receiver [3D Compatible]

After much research, this is one of the only economically priced surround-sound amps that decodes the surround-sound information in the amp itself before passing video on up to the TV. Many of the HDMI switching amps out there only switch the video, and do NOT decode surround (due to the DRM encryption on some HDMI signals) only 2ch PCM.

Look over Sony’s site, they have alot of good info for this unit. For the price it would be really hard to beat.

Nice Stuff:
-Surround decode from the HDMI sources
-The remote also controls my Sony Blu-ray player
-The Main L-R speaker outs are selectable to use either full range speakers, or small surround speakers
-You can Name all the inputs whatever you want
-For a small home theater, sound quality is good
-auto shut off after 30mins of inactivity

Not so nice stuff
-Only three (3) HDMI inputs, i could have used more for later, but for now all I needed was my DishNetwork box, Xbox and blu-ray
-Only one of the three digital audio inputs (2 optical, 1 coax) is programmable to any input. This would have been nice to be able to assign any of them to the remaining analog video inputs
-Analog video inputs (Wii in my case) do not go out the HDMI output. While I didn’t expect this, it would have been a nice touch. As it is I have to change my TV’s input to play Wii. This is no biggie, but it would have been nice!

In summary, this is a great replacement amp if you already had an older surround unit, or if you want to pick and chose your speakers. Like I said, it’s nice that it has a built in selectable crossover for the main L-R speakers.

My last Sony amplifier has lasted nearly 8 years. The only reason for me to replace it was to make switching video sources easier.
There, this is my 2¢ on the matter

Onkyo TX-SR508 7.1-Channel Home Theater Receiver (Black)

I bought this to replace my Sony receiver I purchased from Amazon 3 years ago (almost to the day). While there was nothing “wrong” with my Sony receiver, I quickly realized once I plugged the Onkyo in, that my surround speakers were not being utilized as they should be.

While I am not an audiophile, I do have some quality speakers, and I do like having a quaility sound while watching movies (and playing Xbox). The sound is so clear and crisp with this receiver. Further, the set up with the 4 HDMI inputs made my stereo cabinet so much cleaner, and I got rid of all of my YRW and RBG wires. I am sure I could have invested another $300 and really got some really high end equipment, but honestly, the Onkyo is worth it. The funny thing is, I spent the same amount on the new Onkyo as I did on the old Sony, and the difference is just amazing.

The on-screen set up is great. It makes customizing the inputs and the equilizer so easy. And the speaker test really lets you know what where you need to place you speakers. What else can I say about this product? Honestly, this is the best purchase I have made in a long time. I think the 4 HDMI inputs alone make this a must-have over any other receiver similarly priced. I almost bought another Sony instead of the Onkyo (mostly because I have never purchased anything other than Sony receivers), but I am glad I made the switch. Now that I have experienced Onkyo, I think I have made a life long switch.

If you have any hesitations about buying this product, please feel free to send me a message, and I will try to answer your question before you buy. And if you have never bought an Onkyo before, try it first, and I am pretty sure you will like it (I would almost guarantee it). If not, return it to Amazon. They are really good with returns. But I doubt you will even want to return it once you get it set up.

Sony STR-DH810 7.1-channel A/V Receiver with 7 HD Inputs [3D Compatible]

I just received my new Sony STR-DH810 7.1 on Friday afternoon. I already had the previous version, the STR-DH800 set up in the living room. The DH810 I got for the den. It took less than an hour to pull the plugs out of my old Sony (non-HDMI) receiver and set-up the DH810. I would recommend that anyone getting this get a set of banana plugs for the speaker inputs. You “can” get the wires in the “screw-in” connectors, but banana plugs are just so much easier to deal with. I am using all 3 component inputs, 3 of 4 HDMI, Composite and CD, including DVD Coax, and all Optical audio inputs. Everything is very accessible and clearly labeled.

Once I had everything set up, I ran through the Audio/Video set-up manually. The DH810 comes with a mic that allows you to automatically configure your sound system (the receiver does all the work, but I prefer to do the “tweaking” manually. But that’s just me. However, that said, after manually setting up my system, I reset the receiver and allowed the included mic to automatically detect and set up my sound system (just to see how it handled the task) and it did a bangin’ job! Very easy automated and intuitive set-up.

The initial set-up is a breeze. Hold down the On/Off button on the receiver for 5 seconds until the receiver says CLEAR (which you can do anytime you want to undo any major blunders or just start fresh). Press the speaker button on the receiver until your speaker set-up appears, select your desired input button on the remote, crank up the volume and you have sound! From there, the remote’s menu allows you to configure all the tweaks like EQ, Speaker distance, balance, bass, treble, you TVs resolution, etc. I would prefer some kind of TV-On-Screen Menu, but that is not really a big deal to me.

The sound is phenomenal and the DVD upscaling is very cool. I have Avatar on DVD (not blu ray) and the picture upscaled crisp and clear. The sound coming out of the speakers is clean and crisp. My audio CD’s, movies, Cable TV, all sound great with the DH810.

I had been putting off buying this until someone gave it a rating, and I finally found a couple on the web that convinced me to give it an “early-adopter” try. Suffice to say, I am NOT DISAPPOINTED! The Price of $285 with no shipping was just a BIG plus too.

I will probably add to my rating later on, but for now, I HEARTILY recommend the STR-DH810 to anyone that has been hankering to upgrade their sound system with an upscaling 1080p A/V Receiver.

Samsung SWA-5000 Wireless Receiver

This Samsung receiver was an additional purchase after buying a Samsung 5.1 entertainment center that didn’t include it in purchase. I am happy to have it as it really functions well and always picks up a signal, even as I have several electronic devices everwhere nearby, and even next to the receiver with no interruption of any kind. I was hoping that the receiver sent a signal to the back speakers and did not have to be wired to them for use. That part was a bit disappointing. But, that is really the only negative I have found so forth. Nice product.

AudioSource AMP-100 2-Channel Bridgeable Stereo Power Amplifier

My stereo configuration is four KLH outdoor “rock” (they look like pieces of granite) speakers, an IPOD, and a ten-inch deep book shelf that I wanted to use as the location for the amplifier. I looked at Fry’s, Best Buy, and Circuit City and couldn’t find anything that was compact enough to fit on the bookshelf unless I went really high-end with a Bose setup. I had a spare Sony surround receiver that worked fine, except that it didn’t fit the shelf, plus I wasn’t really looking for all the bells and whistles of the receiver because I won’t be using this setup to watch TV, my CD’s are all on iTunes now, and I get crummy radio reception at my house. So, the technical requirements were to be able to drive the four speakers using a line-in level input coming from the IPOD. Pretty simple.

Anyhow, I purchased the Audiosource AMP100 amplifier on Amazon (to my consternation they dropped the price 3 bucks between the time I placed the order and when I received it) and it arrived in about a week using the free shipping option. It came well packed and sealed, and was as simple to set up as you’d expect of a unit like this. So far, I have tested it once and it worked fine, in fact it sounded a little better than the Sony. All four speakers were being driven normally in A+B mode. I haven’t tested the auto-on feature, but it allows the box to power up automatically when it senses a signal on one of two audio inputs. The power plug on the back of the unit is unswitched (always powered). If I have any problems with the unit I’ll update this post, but so far, so good.

Sony STR-DH100 2-Channel Audio Receiver (Black)

I have to say up front that I’ve only spent a week with my new Sony and my opinion may change but due to the lack of reviews here are my first impressions: This is a very capable receiver, nicely built with a useful and easy to understand remote. I, like most people reading this, was looking for a second receiver to put in my den to listen to cd’s, mp3, and internet radio. My main Home Theater Receiver is a Denon. The Sony has a nice full sound and is easy to adjust to your liking. There are bass and treble controls on the remote, a plus for me. So far I am happy with the sound but I can tell something is lacking, a depth or warmth, whatever you want to call it, I imagine the Onkyo 8255 has what I really want but at 50 less watts per channel and $50.00 more in price. To be honest I don’t know if the trade off is worth it but for those of you who have been trying to decide which one to buy I made my decision to try the less expensive new model from Sony first, then after a week or two if I am not sold, I’ll probably return it and buy the Onkyo. I will say that the 96db s/n ratio is better than some alternatives like the Teac and Sherwood. If you’ve been looking for receivers in this price range you know there isn’t a huge variety so with that in mind I would recommend this receiver over any other similar priced model with the Onkyo being the exception. The Sony has a nice full sound, the tuner works great, it has a sleep timer and a nice quality feel, that counts for something. Sound being subjective, I think I am a little spoiled by my Denon but this Sony does sound better then the Yamaha it replaced. REVIEW UPDATE:
Now that I have gotten to know this receiver inside and out and have spent over a month listening to various kinds of music through my polk Monitor 30 speakers, I can say that this Sony receiver is very well built and has a good clean sound, it was a bit harsh at first but now that it is being used daily I really enjoy the sound coming through the speakers. The remote is very nice and the buttons are laid out in a way that I can easily use the remote without looking at it. Music is very clear, full of bass and treble and a bit of the warmth of my Denon, something that I was hoping would happen as I first wrote that it lacked “warmth”. For the money you can’t go wrong, everything I play sounds very good and there is no distortion even when turningthe volume up considerably loud. If you are on the fence about this, do what i did, buy it and try it out and if you don’t think it is worth the price you can always return it, that’s the great thing about Amazon, no hassles!! Anyway, I highly recommend the Sony STR-DH100.

Pioneer VSX-1120-K 7.1 Home Theater Receiver

Despite the rather disappointing announcement of their departure from the Plasma arena and the de facto departure from in-house blu ray players, Pioneer appears to have made a bold move into the highly competitive mid-range receiver market. Denon and Onkyo have released fiercely competitive models in the $700 price-range that couple either excellent video processing, streamed media, and ample connectivity. My recent review of the Denon AVR891 confirmed their continued competitive product line, but I did lament it lacked some of the swiss army knife approach sometimes imperfectly utilized by Onkyo (the 891 lacks internet-streaming, surround wide processing, and basic rear-panel connectivity). That said, Denon’s use of the ABT chipset (begun last year with the ABT-2010 and continued this year with the ABT-2015) was my preferred AVR video processing (I performed it over Reon XV, Farjouda chips, and lower spec’d ABT chips).

Having owned the 1120’s successor both in elite (21) and no-elite (9040) form, I was always impressed by their power, sonic quality, and design. That said, they lacked what had rapidly become basic featureset in 2009 (wide or height presence configuration, only four hdmi inputs, and only analogue video processing). The 1120’s little brother the VSX-1020 established a reasonably high bar for the 1120 to hurdle in bringing internet radio, iphone control, six hdmi, and wide/height processing in a tidy package widely available under $500. That said, the 1020 was a very compotent and efficient entry-level receiver, but lacked some of the longer legs for bigger rooms or thirsty speakers. Enter the 1120.

The 1120 shares the same deep chassis of the 9140 and Elite 21. At over 17″ deep, it is almost four inches deeper and four pounds heavier than the 1020. It’s also over two inches deeper and four and a half pounds heavier than the Denon 891. The design is conservative and almost identical to last year’s 9040 with a front fascia that is masculine and angular. Beneath the pop-out front input cover are a USB port for Iphone and Ipod playback, an HDMI port and the setup microphone input. The HDMI input is a nice touch for camcorders and other temporary connected inputs (Onkyo offers similar with 708 while Denon has six rear-mounted HDMI inputs).

The rear panel is also similar to last year’s 9040, but four more speaker binding posts have been added for height and wide processing (Pioneer uses MCACC wide since the auto-callibration software is not done via Audyssey DSX). Importantly, the Pioneer has 9.1 pre-outs for those looking to use an external amplifier. Unfortunately, this connectivity has been removed from the Denon AVR2311 and 891 that are natural competitors of the 1120 by price alone.

The remote is very similar to the 1020 in layout, but it is backlit and contains XM and Zone 3. While Pioneer’s remote is not as easily identified with small, similar buttons compared to the Denon, it is learning and back-lit, which is a step ahead of the 891/2311/991/3311. Onyko offers a learning remote in the TX NR708, but is not fully backlit.

Setting up the receiver with MCACC is quick and easy, but each MCACC setting measures the white noise and reverb from speakers from only a single memory point whereas Audyssey MultiEQ in the Denon incorporates multiple locations’ measurements. This might have an impact on callibration depending on the layout of one’s room. That said, I find both tend have a significant impact on accuracy and each have their tweaking benefits.

Once I had setup my 5.1 plus heights layout, I was very impressed with the 1120. While it appears to share a lot of the same audio section with the 9040, it seems to have a wider soundstage, which might have something to do with the presence speakers (I was previously passively bi-amping the height speakers with the 9040). After listening to a variety of blu rays and SACDs from my Oppo, I was nothing but amazed by the power and quality of the sound. Please keep in mind I am of the school that callibrated mid and entry level receivers tend to offer about the same quality audio with incremental differences – speakers (and power to push them) have the biggest impact on quality. That said, this is a very capable receiver that keeps putting me in trouble with my wife to turn it down!

The 1120 really shines in video processing with the Marvell Qdeo chip that offers very similar deinterlacing proficiency to the ABT-2015, but shines with multiple noise reduction settings. On my 54″ panasonic plasma, I have found that video processing via the 1120’s noise reduction settings does help clean up noisy 1080i hd programing. That said, its benefit is incremental, and like all video processors, is not magical in its ability to render standard definition sources as blu ray quality. The video processing settings are applicable per input, which is ideal considering most people should only use it for cable boxes and not bdps.

While this receiver does have a few noticeable shortcomings (lack of on screen display and pandora streaming), it is an incredible package at its current street price floating between $600 and $700. Its rare ability to not molest hdmi video and apply meaningful noise reduction is excellent. Its power, flexibility, and connectivity is excellent, though I would like to see 7.1 MCH inputs. All in all, it’s a very competitive offering and highly recommended.

Sherwood RX-4105 2-Channel 100-Watt Stereo Receiver

Sherwood was a manufacture of mid quality, tube type audio devices during my childhood- a long time ago. A typical two channel, tube type AM/FM stereo receiver made 30 RMS watts per channel and cost around $200. By those standards, today’s Sherwood RX- 4103 making more than three times the power at half the cost is an outstanding value.

This is an attractive, cool running, although quite large and heavy, receiver. The display is functional and easy to read. The controls are well marked and easy to understand and use. The remote control buttons are readable by my ancient eyes and offer a number of desirable functions. My only complaint with the packaging of this unit is the size and weight. For some reason, Sherwood used a massive power supply transformer which requires a large enclosure and makes the unit heavy. Why didn’t they employ a switching power supply and cut the size and weight by 2/3?

I purchased this receiver because I needed an amplifier for my bedroom, and I was unable to find a discrete amplifier at a reasonable price. The amplifier section in this receiver is excellent. The first thing that struck me was that it is quiet. With the volume at mid-high level, silence reigns between CD tracks. Further, the output is clean even at high levels. I have two amplifier related complaints. The bass tone control curve is not well designed. Increasing the bass causes the middle frequencies to become muddy. The speaker wire connectors are too small to accommodate #16 wire. This is a powerful amplifier, and it should have been given binding posts capable of accepting wire large enough to deliver the power to the speakers.

The tuner sections lack sensitivity, and the AM tuner has poor noise rejection in my experience. The lack of sensitivity will likely not be a problem for those living near the stations they want to tune.

The Sherwood RX- 4103 offers a lot of performance for the price. Yes, I wish it were smaller, had better tuners and binding posts for the speaker wires, but I don’t think you can find a better stereo receiver within $75 of this one.

Denon AVR-391 5.1 Channel AV Home Theater Receiver with HDMI 1.4a (Black)

The Denon AVR 391 does not have a lot of bells and whistles, but if you are looking for a high quality receiver at a reasonable price, you could do a lot worse. This unit has four HDMI ports on the back…and that’s about it. It doesn’t have any component hookups. It has a few composite connections for audio and video. It also has a few digital audio connections (coaxial and optical). It does not upconvert analog video to 1080p. If you can live without a few of these features you will likely be impressed with what you do get. It decodes pretty much all of the current HD audio codecs. Blu-ray movies look and sound phenomenal through this receiver. I have my PS3 and Xbox360 hooked up to it and my games sound incredible. I even have my Wii’s audio passing through this receiver and it sounds good too. I’m not really in to 3D, but this receiver supports HDMI 1.4a, so if you’ve got a 3D compatible player and TV you’re good to go. Generally speaking, it’s very simple to hook up and operate. It does not have on screen menus, but configuring the speakers is pretty easy using the units display (it all has to be done manually). The remote isn’t great, but it’s not bad either. It’s fairly intuitive and easy to read. It’s not backlit or anything like that. It’ll control your iPod via a Denon dock though (which actually does have an on screen menu, but it’s not much to look at). If you’re just interested in getting the basics (audio and video), then this receiver is a good way to go, especially if all of your components are HDMI.

Onkyo TX-NR708 7.2-Channel Network Home Theater Receiver (Black)

I’ve really been enjoying my 708. It runs cool enough to be fine inside my tv console with the door closed. Another thing I like is it comes with RIHD (disabled by default) which basically means it talks to my Samsung TV that also has RIHD. I can control the AVR volume with my tv remote. The TV automatically turns off it’s own speakers and outputs sound to the 708 if the 708 is on. Otherwise, it just uses it’s own speakers. Also, if I turn off my tv it automatically turns off the 708 for me.

Networking with Windows 7 was a breeze as well. All I had to do was make sure Windows Media Player allowed the 708 to use it and I was good to go.

Getting internet radio was also easy. I didn’t have to do anything special to get it to work. It’s nice to be able to listen to net radio without having my computer turned on. vTuner is nice since it has several local stations. I’ve always loved Pandora and this makes it that much better.

Switching inputs does take a few seconds but that’s not really something I care about and wouldn’t have really noticed if people hadn’t asked about it due to issues with previous Onkyo models.

I use my fat PS3 to watch Blu-Ray movies and they look the same as they did before which is great. It seems to do surround sound just fine through the PS3 as well using Linear PCM. The analog tv signal also looks the same as it did before.

I haven’t hooked up my PC through this yet but will get around to it and update my review.

Edit: RIHD has started causing problems. With it enabled I’ve had times when I would turn on the receiver and get no sound from the speakers. The only things that worked to get sound from the receiver again was to either A)unplug it B) turn off RIHD.

I’ve also had Pandora lock up the NET/USB input. It would get stuck at 100% buffering. With RIHD on, the only way to get use of the input back was to unplug the receiver and plug it back in. I now have RIHD permanently disable because it’s just not worth the hassle.

I’ve now hooked up my PC through the optical input and it sounds great. The HDMI input is worthless though. My video card outputs to the 16 x 9 resolution my HDTV uses but the 708 is still scaling it to a 16 x 10 ratio which makes the tv cut off some of the top and bottom of the screen. I just went ahead and plugged the computer video back into the tv and only use the 708 for the sound and that works fine.

Onkyo TX-8255 Stereo Receiver

I bought this receiver to replace a fine amp, preamp combo that was 25 years old and had served me well (a NAD). So this one has a tuner built in – oh well. I’ll almost never play the radio. But this unit is just amazing. It impresses me as being totally transparent. There is no noise, no hum, no nothing to let me know that I’m listening to a cd, unless the signal is on the cd or other audio source. Either stuff has gotten a lot better in the last 25 years, or my hearing has deteriorated. Heh heh – both are true. I’ve only had it two days, so I know nothing of durability. It’s driving a couple of IMF speakers which are quite power hungry – no sweat, they just sing beautifully.

4 PORT CABLE TV / HDTV / DIGITAL AMPLIFIER INTERNET MODEM SIGNAL BOOSTER INTERNET AMP

I had a new house that included a GE Smart Center with an amplifier for both cable and satellite. After the purchase of a new HD TV it was obvious the cable signal to the new TV that was 75 feet away from the GE amp was terrible. The cable signal coming into the house at the GE amplifier was good. Replaced the GE amp with this PCT amplifier and the picture was just like having the TV hooked up where the cable entered the house. It was an incredible difference and the PCT amp is literally 1/15th the size of the GE amp it replaced. The unexpected bonus to this purchase is the internet connection. The cable modem is now hooked up to the one port on the PCT amp that boosts the signal in both directions. It has speeded up the internet connection considerably. This product far exceeded my expectations which warranted this write-up. Be advised it only works with cable not satellite systems.

Motorola Signal Booster 4-Port BDA-S4 Cable Modem TV HDTV Amplifier

This dramatically improved the reception in my house. I have Insight Cable (Ohio) and have always had several snowy channels. The cable company had been out but said there was nothing they could do, as some channels just get poor reception. To make matters worse, I recently added five new splices for a total of 10. Several TV’s had terrible reception. I chose this model so I could run the main cable input into the booster and then each output to a splitter. The main cable line enters the house into a finished office so I also liked how the unit was powered, too. It works absolutely fantastic. All TV’s now have excellent reception. I just cannot believe that this solved my issues. It seems very well made and sturdy and it’s actually pretty neat how it works. The power source is an inverter that translates the house electric to 12V. You plug it into your outlet and then run an R59 or R6 coaxial cable from the power source to the amplifier/booster. So I just fished a new cable line in the wall near my outlet to power it, as opposed to having to deal with installing a new outlet near my cable input. I have broadband internet coming through my cable and have seen no interference or problems with that. It was always pretty good so I’m unsure if there was any improvement. To me this was well worth the money. I have several LCD TV’s around and it sucked to have spent the money on them but have bad reception.

Pioneer VSX-520-K 5.1 Home Theater Receiver

Needed a budget receiver to compliment a 47″ LG in my bedroom. Found it at a local retailer open box and had to buy it. Center Channel went out the 1st nite – darned open box! Returned that and found it on Amazon + free shipping – Hallelujah! Ordered Monday got it Friday – 4 days! Center channel (and all other channels) work fine. Really wanted a good receiver that decoded both Dolby TruHD and DTS-HD Master Audio,100W RMS per CH @ .09 thd, 3D READY!!, 3 HDMI In/1 out, HDMI upconvert, and this had it all – for under 2 BILLS! I use this in my bedroom to drive a Magnavox Blu Ray player w/ HDMI 1.4 cables, JBL N-Center, 2 Aiwa 50W rms bookshelf spkrs L+R fronts on stands (6″ woofer, 2″Midbass, 1-1/2″ tweeters), 2 Aiwa cubes (L+R surrounds) and a JBL PB10 150W rms 10″ sub (.1 LFE). Fronts at +2, Ctr 0, SRs +2, Sub +5, x.over 150, Phase on Auto, DRC ON and the set up friggin Sounds F A B U L O U S!!! Wife told me she thinks she’s sleeping inside a movie theater. I have huge system in my LR and did not want to spend alot for a 5.1 set up in the bedroom – this receiver brought decent components together to make it sound top notch. Most Blu Ray movies audio incl DOlby TrueHD and DTS HD Mast Audio – AND IT MAKES A DIFFERENCE IN CLARITY. The Pioneer 520 receiver decodes it perfectly! Even regular DVD movies look AWESOME! Not sure if it’s because of the upconvert on this Pioneer receiver or Blu Ray player or the HDMI 1.4 cables – I’m sure it’s the combo of all of them. THE BEST RECEIVER w/ THE best features of any receiver for the under 2 bills!!!

Onkyo HT-RC260 7.2-Channel Home Theater Receiver (Black)

I’ve had the past couple of days to enjoy my new receiver. It’s what anyone would expect from an Onkyo. One item to note regarding the price is that the msrp is actually 499 and not 549, so that decreases the overall savings. The price of 349 is still great for what you are getting. The RC260 is essentially a slightly stripped down version of the SR608 offering from Onkyo. It lacks three items, the VGA 15-pin input, Sirius input and THX Select2 certification. For those that don’t require those three features, you can save some money by opting for the RC260.

Unfortunately this unit because it’s based off the SR608, it also has the 1080p video degradation because of the video processor that is built into the unit. This is used to perform up-conversion of your non 1080p sources. You can turn it off if you choose to, but you would lose the on screen display which is very useful. However, you can still configure everything through the one line display on the unit itself.

There are a total of 6 HDMI inputs, so there are plenty and I don’t know if I will ever be able to consume them all. It helps to have it when you need it though.

It’s audio/video processing options galore.

Yamaha RX-V367BL 5.1 Channel 500 Watt AV Receiver (Each Black)

We had a very old audio only receiver and were looking to replace it (almost 10 year old technics). We picked up the Yamaha RX-V367, even though there were no reviews, since the receiver was just released, and it was in our price range (200 to 300). So far we are happy with the new receiver; it is connected to the satellite box, xbox, and blu ray.

Speaker set up: Set of Polk Rti8 (left right and center), and klipsch Klipsch Synergy Series SS.5 rear surround (left and right). The sound coming from the speakers was MUCH better than from our ancient receiver.

Not a fan of the Sound Field Programs, seems too much like a gimmick, and only adds an echo depending on what setting (one setting might effect the vocals more, or another setting might effect the music), but I imagine some people would enjoy that. Has many audio processing options, works great with Netflix streaming, set it to 5ch stereo and it will work great; can clearly listen to what’s playing (netflix only streams in 2ch stereo). Mainly use the “Straight” audio processing setting (for xbox and blu ray), I assume the receiver doesn’t add any extra “audio goo”, and plays direct from the source.

Good video quality, no noticeable video deterioration. Yamaha says it’s compatible with HDMI 1.4 and will support 3D (with a firmware upgrade). Not that interested in 3d TVs anyways.

Clear and easy to use menu system (compared to my old technics receiver), competent directions, fairly user friendly.

Has 4 HDMI inputs which was much better than many of the competitors in the same price range. We didn’t test the FM/AM tuner, and only connected HDMI and RCA from computer. We were also swayed by the extra bluetooth adapter so we can listen to music (and hopefully stream Hulu audio) wirelessly from the computer (and get rid of the airport express). Will update review after getting bluetooth.

Onkyo TX-NR808 7.2-Channel Network Home Theater Receiver (Black)

I bought the ONKYO TX-NR808 to replace my aging 10 year old Lexicon DC-2 pre-amp and Carver Professional amps. The Onkyo powering Miller and Kreisel THX 750 5.1 speaker system.
I figured that after 10 years I could use a audio update even though the Lexicon is still a amazing piece of equipment but I didn’t want to spend $6500 this time around.

I wanted a receiver that had all of the newer DTS and Dolby surround formats and could power the 4 ohm M&K speakers.

It sounds great I love the video switching and the great on screen display of settings.

I have a Netgear 9150 Digital entertainer Elite hooked to it with only one HDMI cable. Being able to use the HDMI really cleans up the cabling since it can also send the audio over the same cable. Same thing goes for my HD cable box, HDMI no seperate audio cable needed.

I haven’t had any problems with the Ethernet not connecting, even though I did let it update via the internet. The streaming off connected networked computer is nice also, without any problems. Pandora works flawlessly.

For the price and features it cannot be beat.

Pioneer VSX-920-K 7.1 Home Theater Receiver

Purchased this from Amazon last week on sale for a great price! This receiver replaces a 9 year old Yamaha HTR-5440 5.1 Ch receiver. I think the sound quality is great, as was the Yamaha’s and since my tv only has 2 hdmi inputs I am now able to connect my Tivo HD, Blu Ray Player, and Media Center PC to the receiver and I only have to run one hdmi cable up to the tv and I don’t have to disconnect one component to connect another. I could’ve done this with an hdmi switch, but that is another piece of electronic’s plugged in and drawing a little power all day, every day. The upscaling seems to do a great job with my wii that is connected with just a composite video cable. The iPhone/iPod interface is great, but if you want to see your cover art on your tv (not an issue for me as I usually don’t have the tv on when listening to music on the iPhone/iPod) you will need to buy atleast the 1020k as that is the next step up and offers that feature. I have stereo speakers on my deck that are connected to Speakers B which have much better sound with this receiver than they did when they were connected the same way to the old Yamaha because this receiver allows me to add or subtract db’s sent to those speakers (up to 15 db extra) and the Yamaha did not. This receiver works flawlessly with my Logitech Harmony remote. The one drawback for me was that this receiver does not have a 110 volt switched outlet on the back to turn off all power to my subwoofer and the old Yamaha did have this feature. I have checked all of the other Pioneer’s and Yamaha’s and they too do not come with this feature. I am hooking up a surge protector to a wall switched outlet and then plugging my sub into that to turn it off so it is not sucking any power while not in use.

I would highly recommend this receiver to anyone that is on a tight budget and wants to get a lot for less out of pocket expense.

Onkyo TX-8555 Stereo Receiver

I purchased this amplifier recently. I own a few older, well-regarded amplifiers (tube and solid state) that cost a lot more money when new, so my expectations were not high for this Onkyo. That said, I am stunned by how nice this amplifier sounds. I run the amplifier in Pure Audio mode (press the Pure Audio button on the front panel twice, then the blue LED comes on indicating Pure Audio mode). If I didn’t know better, I’d swear this was a high-end tube amplifier. There is absolutely no background noise. No hiss. No hum. Nothing but dead silence. It makes music with silent passages jump to life. Whether I use this amplifier to drive Paradigm Titan speakers or Grado headphones, the quality of the sound reproduction and the dynamic range is absolutely remarkable, especially bass reproduction. Using a quality CD audio source, I can clearly hear every cymbal, with all the timber, every bass note, with all the string vibration from every finger pluck. For what this amplifier costs, I can’t imagine looking elsewhere unless you need to drive large reference monitors. This amplifier is more than capable of driving anything up to full-sized floor speakers at reasonable volume. The amplifier includes an AM/FM tuner that works well enough. FM channels come in loud and clear using the included wire antenna. AM reception is a bit more difficult using the included loop antenna and its short wires, so at a minimum expect to add four to eight feet of wire to the AM antenna to get the loop well clear of any power cords. But that’s really of little consequence if what you’re looking for first and foremost is a high-quality stereo amplifier. I’ve listened to high-end amplifiers costing many times as much and few sound this pure and clean. The overall look and feel of the unit is professional grade, with just the right amount of heft. All controls have positive feedback and none feel flimsy. The volume knob is particularly nice, with a heavy, smooth action that is slow to respond, resulting in very fine, analog-like volume control. In brief summary, I doubt anyone with reasonable expectations will be disappointed. This stereo amplifier provides performance and quality well beyond its price level.

Denon AVR-591 5.1 Channel Home Theater Receiver with HDMI 1.4a (Black)

I’ve been listening to a great podcast about audio and video technologies and found that this was the least expensive of the Denon models that offered the Audyssey MultiEQ room equalization technology. I don’t have a large room for my home theater. Actually it’s a little out of the ordinary in that I have the orientation in a non-ideal setup. I wasn’t sure how this room equalization technology would work in my setup and I wasn’t sure that I would get incredible sound from a unit this inexpensive but I decided to try it anyway. I had a Yamaha receiver previously that had a proprietary calibration setting with a microphone for automatic setup. My experience with that wasn’t very good. Assuming that I read the instructions correctly, which I believe I did, the result ended up turning off my sub completely. I got it tweaked fairly well after playing with it for awhile but, needless to say, I was a little skeptical about the Audyssey setup because of this experience. The reason I decided to try it out anyway was because of the difference between how Audyssey and other companies do this automatic setup process. The Audyssey calibration, for lack of time, is much more complex, complete and precise. I am completely blown away at the difference this has made in the complete sound of my system – both movies and music. I have a pretty good collection of DVD-Audio surround sound music discs and what a difference the new receiver with the Audyssey MultiEQ calibration technology has made. I run Polk Audio RM85 satellite speakers and a Polk Audio PSW110 10-inch active sub through this receiver and the combination is perfect for my room environment and my listening preferences. I highly recomment this receiver

Harman Kardon HK 3390 High Performance 2 x 80W Stereo Receiver

This Harman Kardon 3390 was part of a larger upgrade to the home sound system, replacing an aging 90 watt per channel Yamaha. Also included were new speakers in the form of Klipsch Reference Series RF-62’s, replacing Bose 501’s. A similar review will be posted for the speakers.

As we all do, I started this upgrade project with certain assumptions – some accurate, some not. And like many of you reading this, I relied heavily on user and expert reviews from many sources on the web. But those aren’t always helpful since the world of audio equipment seems to have its own peculiar lexicon with terms that are not defined and often fully understood only by the writer. Actual auditions of the equipment were somewhat limited by the fact that few dealers carry both brands where I live. This is a real problem since best results are achieved not just by selecting a good receiver and good speakers, but by hearing how they work together. For instance, “bright” speakers don’t pair up very well with “bright” receivers – the result can be something too bright and potentially harsh sounding. That said, I nevertheless attempted to gain as much understanding as I could through things I read (reviews, blogs, etc.) and limited auditions of equipment. In the end, I feel rather lucky to have put together something that works very well as a system.

I’ve always been a believer in going with a lot of watts per channel, not so much to produce high listening volume, but to have plenty of “headroom” in the system so that the sound is better even at modest volume. 100 watts always seemed like a good target. I was therefore a little unsure of the 80 watt rating of the HK, but all the reviews I read seemed to indicate that it would be OK. For those of you who have similar beliefs and concerns, I can tell you that the 80 watt HK is plenty adequate for a medium sized family room, particularly when paired with easy-to-drive speakers like the Klipsch Reference. The sound quality does not seem to be compromised at all by the “modest” 80 watt output. I have not auditioned the HK 3490, so I don’t know if the additional power makes a difference in sound quality or not. If you are driving less efficient speakers, it might be worth exploring.

As others have noted, the sound is uncolored, although it seems rather warm sounding compared to the Yamaha. It sounds great – deep and smooth bass, clear and smooth highs – with a high quality sound to it. It is not fatiguing to listen to it for extended periods of time. Some say it sounds similar to a Denon, but I find the sound of many Denon’s to be less clear than this receiver. Perhaps I just haven’t heard the right Denon yet.

Like a lot of folks my age (58), I have a collection of old vinyl albums that don’t see much action. This was not the primary reason I chose a receiver with phono inputs, but it seemed like a nice feature to have for those rare occasions (the old Yamaha had this feature as well). The HK 3390 is said to have an audiophile quality phono pre-amp in it, so I figured I might as well try listening to some of the old vinyl stuff to see what that was all about. The quality of the sound in this mode is spectacular, and I now fully understand why vinyl is making a come-back. The old records will be seeing a lot more action now. They simply sound better than CD’s when played through quality equipment like this (aside from the usual clicks and pops, of course).

This receiver is worth its list price. At Amazon’s discounted price, it’s a bargain. An old fashioned 2 channel receiver may not be for everyone in this high tech world, but for those of us who use a 2 channel set up, it’s great to find a product where the money goes into quality rather than features we’ll never use.

Now, about that remote….. yes, it is quite large, almost comically so. But it works quite well and controls a lot of different functions. And you won’t have any trouble finding it!

Denon AVR-3311CI 7.2 Channel Network Home Theater Receiver with HDMI 1.4a (Black)

Having listened to mid-range receivers from most of the major brands, I liked the sound of the Denons the best..a bit warmer than the Onkyos, which is better for music. The Pioneers sounded nice, but lacked Audyssey (using the proprietary MACC instead). Marantz sounded great but aren’t as fully featured as comparably priced Denons.

I wanted a receiver that’s up-to-date with all of the latest surround sound formats and is relatively future proof, since I don’t plan to upgrade again for several years. The 3311 seemed to fit the bill perfectly and I’m very happy with my purchase so far. The sound quality is great. I thought that my old Onkyo sounded pretty good, but this surpasses it by far. Audyssey MultiEQ XT does an excellent job at tailoring the equalization to compensate for the acoustical flaws in the room. I’ve never had a system that sounds so balanced, detailed and immersive. There’s plenty of power to drive most speakers (even my inefficient Polk RTiA7’s) to their potential. I was initially concerned about the reduced weight of the newer Denon mid-range receivers compared to older models, but this concern seems to be mostly unfounded, as the performance and adequate power speaks for itself. Pre-outs are included to allow for the addition of external amps, if desired. Last year’s models apparently suffered from networking problems. Fortunately, these issues seem to have been resolved in the 3311 and the network features have worked flawlessly so far. By the way, the upcoming model AVR-991 is priced $200 lower and is basically the same as the 3311, except it has no pre-outs, a couple less inputs, one less zone and one remote instead of two.

To me, this unit (or the 991) is the sweet spot in the new Denon line as far as performance, features and value. It’s reasonably priced, being $300 less than last year’s 3310, yet has more features and probably better sound, due to the upgrade to the “XT” version of MultiEQ. It’ll cost a lot more to step up to the next higher model (4311?) and, based on comments I’ve read, the difference in sound quality is likely to be marginal at best. The 3311 comes with a 3 year warranty (the AVR-991 warranty is only 2 yrs).

Based on my experience with this receiver so far, I’d definitely buy it again and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to a friend. Tip: try to get it on sale. I got mine for 25% off list price despite being a newly released model.

Yamaha RX-V1065BL 7.2-Channel Digital Home Theater Receiver (Black)

I have had this receiver for a few months now. I use it as a preamp with Adcom for the front and Hafler for the rear along with Definitive Tech speakers and an 18″ Velodyne. I tried it as an integrated amp and thought it was fine, but I am fussy and like to use my more powerful amps. I am very pleased with the imaging and detail that is typical of Yamaha. I guess someone got a lemon, because I was impressed with the tuner, especially the HD. The microphone setup of the speaker system is also a plus, allowing for adjustments in room acoustics.

Onkyo TX-NR5008 9.2-Channel Network Home Theater Receiver

The new flagship unit is more refined and user friendly with many of the rough edges ironed out. The osd is a big improvement you can make adjustments on the fly with (on screen display) for audio and video. The older version 5007 for me was freezing up not letting speaker output and you were forced to do resets which involved unplugging unit and thus loose all your previous settings. Not good. This unit is heading in the right direction but I feel still has some catch up to do with how fast things are changing in the AV world and tech in general. I am forced to buy another set top box to handle video because this unit although does have DLNA 1.5 it misses an egregious item and that BIG item is access to video from anywhere stream audio is so yesterday people are demanding video anywhere anytime. Period.

The performance is wonderful quality components and some well needed refinements that were required for a flagship. All in all a good purchase. But I still have to get a set top like Boxee Roku and the like to stream the video.

Polk Audio CS10 Center Channel Speaker (Single Black)

I am a home audio/visual amateur and certainly not a techie. About a year ago I purchased a Panasonic 50″ Plasma HDTV. Although my home has built-in surround sound speakers in the ceiling, the rest of my system consisted of castoffs and mismatched speakers acquired over a long period of years. I subsequently added an Onkyo SKW204 Bass Reflex powered subwoofer and was amazed at the enhanced sound quality of my system. My Bose bookshelf speakers seemed adequate but over time, I grew increasingy discontented with the poor sound quality and performance from my center speaker that I had inherited somewhere along the line. I knew there had to be something better than what I was hearing.

After researching quality and price, I purchased the Polk Audio CS10 Center Channel Speaker and have been a very happy camper since. The sound is great, enjoyable, and, certainly powerful. The tinny sounding voices from my old unit have been replaced with strong, clear, crisp, and concise voices and center channel action. I notice the fantastic improvement especially when I watch a non-surround sound program or a program where most of the activity is center channel conversation. And the clarity of music and Blu Ray DVDs is noticeably enhanced by this speaker. I suspect my next purchase will be to match Polk Audio shelf speakers to this CS10 Center Channel Speaker. I highly recommend this speaker to those seeking more quality at a fair price.

IHOME iHM79BC Rechargeable Mini Speakers (Black)

I bought these directly through iHome. They were very quick to ship. I also found an online 20% coupon that made the price a no-brainer. ($10 cheaper and free shipping!!) Can’t say enough good things about these little speakers. I took them with me on my trip to South America. Never had any problems with them what so ever. A word of caution though… The magnets in the speaker bases are strong; so be careful around hard-drives and other sensitive magnetic materials. I read in one review where someone set these speakers on top of there laptop and it destroyed their hard-drive!! The sound quality is excellent and the battery life is very good. The speakers come with a single proprietary cable with it’s own built in clip for cable management. As others have stated the cable is a little unwieldy and could be a tad longer but truly does not diminish my impression of these little guys. Also, there is no volume control on the speakers themselves; so you must use the source to regulate volume. iHome’s Customer Service is top notch and they kept me informed during the entire purchasing process. My only concern with these speakers is the cable – specifically if you lose it they are no longer functional. Overall – really great little speakers with a very classy appearance!!!

Audiovox Acoustic Research AW825 Mission Style Wireless Speaker (Bronze)

I purchased this item for somewhat of an unusual use. I have and extensive collection of digital nature sounds and use the device to attract birds and other various wildlife for photographing. I feed audio signals with a simple MP3 player loaded with various bird songs. I throw a rope over a tree branch and hoist the AW825 up to a particular level then move back and begin selecting bird voices. I was surprised how the birds reacted. It is very easy to attract Downy Woodpeckers, Red bellied Woodpeckers, and even Pileated Woodpeckers. Nuthatchers go crazy trying to figure out who is in their “turf”. It’s a lot of fun and I have gotten great wildlife shots. I even attracted a flock of Turkey. So far I have no complaints. I have not had it exposed to any bad weather conditions but it is nice to know that a little rain may not hurt this device. The range is acceptable (I have gotten clear signals beyond 150′. I just wish the volume was a bit louder.

Sony SS-B3000 Bookshelf Speakers with 8-Inch Woofer (Pair Black)

I bought these to replace a pair of Infinity 2-ways. The old speakers were 6 ohm, and seemed fine driven by an old JVC stereo receiver. Later, a co-worker sold me his old pro-logic reciever. I picked up a set of 8 ohm Sony center, subwoofer, and surrounds. We listen to music a lot, and using the crossover in the sub, keeping keep the receiver on stereo, I thought the music sounded pretty good. However, with the old fronts being 6 ohm made it really hard to balance the sound levels when we watched a movie in surround. Just today, I got these as part of an overall system upgrade to full 7.1. These speakers arrived first, and I couldn’t wait to see them on my stands. What an amazing difference. We haven’t changed anything else in the set-up yet, and the music is SO much richer and clearer. I paid more for those little Infinity’s way back when. These are a real bargain at Amazon’s price. Don’t let the “bookshelf” description fool you; on a pair of 14″ stands, these sound as good as many floorstanders I’ve heard.

Sony SS-B1000 5 1/8-Inch Bookshelf Speakers (Pair)

I’m glad I received these Sony SSB-1000 bookshelf speakers as a gift because I probably wouldn’t have bought them myself without a demonstration first. I love the convenience of small speakers but I expected a trade-off of convenience for sound quality. Well, these Sony speakers are impressive in spite of their small size. There’s a rounded, glamorous sheen to the sound they produce, over the full frequency range. The bass is rich and detailed, not booming or exaggerated. The dynamic range is expansive, handling big climaxes without popping or distortion. Recordings sound more naturally warm and even old mono recordings have noticeably more body. Without a comparison, it’s hard to say how much breadth of sound I’m giving up by not having larger speakers (the Sony SSB-3000, say) but these little wonders are entirely satisfying in their own right. In sum, these are speakers an audiophile could live with. Five stars for value!

Polk Audio RC60i In-Ceiling / In-Wall Speakers (Pair White)

These speakers are great. Installation was much easier because the large, 8″ opening you cut into the wall/ceiling makes it much easier to fish speaker wire. The mounting brackets securely fasten to the wall so there is no shaking or rattling. The tweeter can easily pivot to aim at your listening position. These are voice matched to the Polk “Monitor” series speakers, so match with any other RC series in-wall speaker, CS1 or CS2 center channel speaker, and PSW10 or PSW12 subwoofer.

My only 2 complaints, which were not enough to drop the rating, are:
1) The speaker cutout template turned out to be a tad small, and I had to go around with a keyhole saw again to make it 1/8″ larger to fit the speaker all the way. That made it a little messier, but it ended up fine.
2) The speaker grill is pretty hard to remove, but you only have to do that once, and you want it to fit snugly anyways.

Polk Audio RC80i 2-Way In-Ceiling Speakers (Pair White)

These speakers are great. Installation was much easier because the large, 8″ opening you cut into the wall/ceiling makes it much easier to fish speaker wire. The mounting brackets securely fasten to the wall so there is no shaking or rattling. The tweeter can easily pivot to aim at your listening position. These are voice matched to the Polk “Monitor” series speakers, so match with any other RC series in-wall speaker, CS1 or CS2 center channel speaker, and PSW10 or PSW12 subwoofer.

My only 2 complaints, which were not enough to drop the rating, are:
1) The speaker cutout template turned out to be a tad small, and I had to go around with a keyhole saw again to make it 1/8″ larger to fit the speaker all the way. That made it a little messier, but it ended up fine.
2) The speaker grill is pretty hard to remove, but you only have to do that once, and you want it to fit snugly anyways.

Polk Audio RC85i 2-Way In-Wall Speakers (Pair White)

I purchased a pair of these in-walls for a pool table/game room area I am building in the basement. My receiver is an Onkyo 805 7.1 home theater system and these will serve as stereo/audio part for only that room. I have never owned Polks or in wall speakers for that matter and listened to them at the big box store before purchasing these through Amazon. I was really impressed at the audio quality. I also didn’t want floor standing speakers, but didn’t want to sacrifice audio quality either so these speakers filled the bill.
No back boxes are necessary, the speaker is designed as an “infinite
baffle” type and only requires that the front and rear moving sound wave
are isolated from each other. Polk recommends to maximize the sound quality, you place a modest amount of a sound absorbing material, such as Polyfil (a synthetic cotton-like material found at craft/fabric stores) inside the cavity before installing the speakers. Supposedly, this will absorb the rear moving sound wave and reduce mid range coloration. I think insulation also works just as well. I haven’t done this yet and they still sound excellent!

Sony SS-CN5000 Dual 5.25 Center Channel Speaker (each black)

I own a Htib with tiny satalite speakers and a big subwoofer. I really liked the features and looks of my home theater system but I must admit that it was a bit of a strain listening to conversations on broadcasts and dvds. Rather than start from scratch I replaced my center speaker with this and the left and right speakers with the sony ssf-5000 floor speakers.

Now its amazing the how great movies and broadcast are with this speaker especially since I paired it with the floor speakers!

I was afraid it wouldn’t be good quality or poor audio since I didn’t audition it before buying, but I am very pleased and since owning I’ve compared center speakers at best buy and circuit city and see how this stacks up well in size and craftmenship to speakers that cost alot more money.

Polk Audio Monitor 30 2-Way Bookshelf Speakers (Pair Black)

First, don’t be mislead by the price. The Polk Monitor 30 has great potenial and a huge bargain at its close out price (replaced by TSi series which is nearly identical). A bookshelf with depth, both in that it protrudes twelve inches from front to rear when placed on a wall, and, also, provides ample bass for its stature. It matches well with Polk’s CS1 or CS10 center channel speaker for surround systems as a front and surround channel, or can be paired with the larger M40 bookshelf, or M50 and M60 towers as a surround speaker. It should be able to outperform most satellite speaker systems, but will stand out prominently from the wall when hung from it’s bracket. On opposite end of the hanging bracket, short legs keep the speaker evenly spaced from the wall and allow the rear port to breathe.

Since both Polk’s Monitor/TSi bookshelf and center channel speakers provide ample levels of bass (55Hz), it offers more flexibility when used with a subwoofer than small satellite speakers. Subwoofer crossover can be set lower allowing the sub to handle the lower frequencies with more detail. While crossover with a satellite speaker generally should be set no lower than the 120-150Hz area, which is at the uppermost range of most subwoofers, the M30 can easily be adjusted down to the 60-80Hz area. Of course the extra speaker size can take more power and produce more volume than satellites, as well.

However, for front channel use the Monitor has limitations. For mid size rooms the Monitor 30 is a bit small as a front channel and noticeably lacking in bass detail no matter what the room dimension. There are bookshelfs that use larger mid/woofer drivers or at least two 5 inch drivers (and one tweeter) that can produce quite a bit more detail and volume in the lower frequencies. However, you’ll have to spend at least $300 for such a pair that match the clarity and quality design of the Monitor 30. The other option is to purchase the Monitors for $100 and spend an additional $100-200 on a subwoofer to have even greater range than the larger bookshelfs.

I use four Monitor 30’s as surround and rear channels in a fairly spacious room (16×24 & vaulted ceiling) with Polk Monitor 60 towers and CS1 in the front. Though the 30’s are much closer to the listener than the fronts, the levels must be adjusted a couple of decibels higher to make surround effects really come out. In fairness, the front channels employ eight 5.25″ drivers versus only two to four drivers depending on 5.1 or 7.1 soundtrack. While listening to music, I prefer using Dolby ProLogicIIx (7.1 surround), rather than two channel stereo. Since the Monitor 30’s match so seamlessly with the other speakers, the soundstage is opened up and less volume is needed.

Again, don’t let the price fool you. There are many steeply priced speakers using same size drivers that will only marginally outperform and sometimes underperform the Monitor 30. The Dynaudio 52SE for example, costing around $1,000, when tested by Audioholics produced great lower bass until it bottomed out due to lack of internal bracing and overall driver design. When given time to break-in, matched appropriately with other speakers, and tuned with the latest A/V Receivers, the 30 can be a very solid performer.

X-Mini MAX II Capsule Speakers Color BLACK

Already had X-Mini II speakers and read reviews on the X-Mini MAX II that spoke of an in-line volume control in the USB cable. Unfortunately these speakers do not have an on-board volume control like the X-Mini II nor does the cable include the USB cable with the volume control. As I have these speakers connected to a source without a volume control there is no control over the volume.

I love the speakers but I am very disappointed that this version does not include the USB cable with the volume control.

Just be forewarned, there are evidently at least 2 versions of the X-Mini Max II; one with a volume control in the cable and one without. This is the version without.

Yamaha NS-AW150W 2-Way Outdoor Speakers (Pair White)
These are great speakers. My husband put them up over the weekend and wow what spectacular sound. It was packaged well and came with all the mounting necessities. We love listening to 50’s jazz and the crispness of the cymbals and the brushes on the snare give you chills. Never again will we go back to large bulky speakers. These are on the wall and out of the way. The seller got them to us quickly and we want to thank you Amazon for being there yet again. Sincerely, The Escondio Macs

Polk Audio PSW10 10-Inch Monitor Series Powered Subwoofer (Single Black)

While I was looking for sub-woofer I was comparing PSW10 and PSW404. PSW404 sounds better but for the price $110 vs. $250 at J&R I opted for PSW10. The sale representative dropped the price for me even though they still selling PSW10 for $200 here. Those of you who worry about no LFE input, that shouldn’t be a problem. All you have to do is connect the sub-woofer output of the receiver to either the right or left input on the sub-woofer. And then set the variable low pass filter on the sub-woofer to the highest setting. This will set the internal low pass filter above the low pass filter frequency given by your receiver and create an LFE input. Or you may use a RCA cable to provide a connection to both inputs on the sub-woofer from the LR pre-out from the receiver. Then adjust the cross over frequency from the woofer as desired. It sounds a little louder and better for me. I bought Monster sub-woofer cable and it sounds no better than RCA cable. Try not to waste your money on this. It has 7.4 out of 10 in CNet rating and it is #6 in editor’s top list for sub-woofers. I matched PSW10 with R300, RTi4, R150, CSi3 and Denon 1906 receiver. Mainly used for HDTV over the air, DVD movies and some FM. It sounds a lot better than the sub-woofer from RM6750. It carries 5 years warranty but make sure you buy from Authorize dealer. For the price I paid I am more than happy with it. I hope this helps to your decision.

Polk Audio PSW505 12-Inch Powered Subwoofer (Single Black)

Was very iffy on this sub since I was going from a $1,000 Velodyne to this, but let me tell you I am not disapointed.Low tight bass with no distortion or rumble, sounds much better playing music than the Velodyne did,even though I use it mainly for movies.In my opinion you are getting a high end sounding subwoofer for $300, there is no way you can beat that!Tried to see how loud I could take it to see at what level it would start to distort, but could not get there because my windows were about to pop And my nose started to itch from the tremendous vibration, teeth rattled a little too! trust me I am not exagerating! BUY THIS SUB!!!!!

Sony SA-W2500 Performance Line 100 Watt Subwoofer

If you’re thinking about buying a subwoofer, it is unlikely that you are a garden variety movie fan or lover of music. People looking for subwoofers usually already have a decent system, but know that there is something lacking.

When it came for me to buy one, three factors weighed in my decision: power, brand, and (of course) price. I’ve grown up with what I have always believed to be a ‘healthy skepticism’ when it comes to Sony products. My father had an early generation (1990ish) 5.0 Sony 250 Watt surround amp that performed extremely poorly in just about every function. The only advantage it had over his earlier (1978) Rotel non-tube amp is that it had multiple component inputs. The sound quality of the 50 Watt rated Rotel amp blew the Sony out of the water.

In my search for a subwoofer, I was surprised to find so many good reviews of the Sony line. I was looking for a better name than Sony, but when I compared prices, I was compelled to give the Sony at least a listen. Comparable subs by Velodyne and others were far more expensive (double the cost of the Sony or more). Listening to the Sony at the stereo shop, I must say that I was extremely impressed.

Is the Sony sound as good as the Velodyne or other high end subwoofers that cost 2-3 times as much as the Sony? Of course not, but I quickly discovered that difference in sound quality was not at all closely related to the difference in price.

Keep in mind that this is one of Sony’s smallest and lightest subs (only 25 lbs), but once I brought it home and hooked it up to my 6.1 surround system and configured the frequency and volume on the back of the sub, it seamlessly expanded the low end range of my system for music and movie playback. Before I learned (by experimenting with them) how to adjust the levels on the back of the sub, it was quite boomy and there was a bit of a gap between the low end on the six surround speakers and where the sub picked up. When I made the appropriate adjustments, by trial and error, I found that this sub is an extremely versatile fit for my home. My family room is 17’x14′, and the back opens into a 10’x15′ living room, and the sub easily fills the room. When I crank the system for rock and roll music and movies, the sub has no problem keeping up and is easily capable of playing more loudly than is safe or enjoyable.

Would I have liked a bigger sub made by a better brand? Sure, but this one does the job (and then some) admirably, and for less than half the cost. This sub gets 4 stars as a product, but I gave it 5 because of the extremely good value. If you have a big budget and can afford to spend what it would take to buy a speaker that actually sounds better than one of these Sony subs, go for it, you will not be disappointed. On the other hand, if you would rather spend less on a sub and still get excellent power and sound quality, this is as good as it gets without spending several hundred dollars.

Mirage MM-6 miniature High-Performance Subwoofer (Black)

Until recently the speakers on our Pioneer Elite plasma were rarely used since all the audio is sourced through a Bose Lifestyle receiver. However, we recently added a new Home Threatre PC to the mix – mainly to get access to the many internet streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu etc and to play foreign region DVDs and Blu Rays. The PC is connected via HDMI and hence both video and audio are sent to the TV (we could have configured the audio to be routed through the Bose system as well but it would have required an extra cable and we were maxed out with the number of components that are attached to the Bose (so we would have to disconnect one in any case). Also, there was the hassle of turning on another device – our Sony HTPC turns on and controls the Pioneer TV just like it was a monitor. The inbuilt HDMI control turns on the TV automatically and turns it to the correct input when the PC is turned on and when the TV is turned off the PC also goes into hibernation. Everything worked perfectly except the audio from the TV’s attacked speakers lacked substantial bass.

Another problem we had was that we live in a high rise condo and space is a premium so we didn’t want a large sub. The Mirage MM6 was the best fit in terms of aesthetics and performance that we could find. The finish of the MM6 matches the TV perfectly. Also, the Pioneer Elite TVs already include a subwoofer connection that is active so all we needed to do was to plug in a cable from the sub out from the TV to the MM6.

The sound of the MM6 is very detailed and balanced and does not sound muddled or booming like a lot of cheaper subs. The difference to the overall audio quality is quite substantial to say the least. One way to tell is how the THX audio demo sounds (some Disney movies have them at the start).

Great aesthetics and performance. Set up was really easy and you can pretty much put these anywhere and still the sound is excellent.

Infinity Classia PSW310CH 10 Powered Subwoofer with Dual 10 Passive Radiators (Single Cherry)

I have been using this subwoofer for a few months now. It replaced Yamaha YST-SW315 10-Inch Digital Pro Series Subwoofer. I saw this one on sale and figured since it has a stiffer cone, with that ceramic/aluminum material, it might sound snappier.

I am not disappointed, it does not sound as muddy as the yamaha did. (not that the yamaha was horrible) (plus the yamaha was downward firing and I have wooden floors, this fires to the sides, I think it has one live and 2 passive perpendicular to the active one)

Both were automatically configured by audyssey on denon avr-2809ci. It seems to have more punch as well, because visitors started complaining once I hooked it out instead of the yamaha.

But, I do not use the wireless method of connection (but it came with everything needed and for the 5 minutes I tested it, it seemed fine). I have it connected directly to the receiver.

It was also easier to set level of for the audyssey auto calibration, but I am not sue if that was because I already did it before, or because it is sending out the sound better).

I also do not play anything really loud, but at low and medium volumes, I am quite happy with this. Even then it makes everything shake :)

Onkyo SKW204 Bass Reflex Powered Subwoofer (Black)

Believe it or not, I had never owned a powered subwoofer until I purchased the “Onkyo SWK204″ after researching what I might need to complete my sound system after adding a new Panasonic Plasma HDTV, a Sony Blu-Ray DVD, and a new Sony receiver. After a week of listening to the SW in my home, I am thrilled with the purchase.

The “Onkyo SWK204″ Bass Reflex powered subwoofer has a built in 230 watt amp which is more than adequate for the home theatre system I have installed in my large living/family room. It is a 10″ cone subwoofer that is attractive yet non intrusive in a basic black with silver cone and sturdy enough weighing in at 26 pounds.

I am NOT a techie so I will only say that with so many of the new movie sound tracks reflecting low frequency effect (LFE), I was astounded at the difference this SW made in my home entertainment enjoyment. It has a frequency response of 25 Hz to 150 Hz and a continuously variable crossover (50Hz-200Hz) controlled by a cross over frequency control along with the customary volume control and a lighted standy mode.

There are certainly better and more powerful subwoofers out there and you will, of course, pay for the advanced power or features. As a home audio/visual amateur, I found this unit to be an acceptable and efficacious choice based on performance and price.

Polk Audio PSW111 Compact Powered 8-Inch Subwoofer (Single Black)

After some deliberation, I decided to buy this on Amazon rather than a couple of Polk’s 10-inch versions. I heard it at BB and thought it was very tight and controlled. I listen almost exclusively to music and just wanted something to fill in the lower registers. This sub complements well my new Yamaha nx-e400 bookshelf speakers (another under-recognized bargain!), which supposedly go down to 55hz on their own. I set the crossover to about 85 hz and turned the volume on the sub to almost halfway, and this combo fills my room with an almost perfect blend of bass, midrange, and treble. If you’re just looking for solid bass to help your bookshelf speakers with music, this sub is terrific!

Klipsch Synergy Sub-10 – Subwoofer – 200 Watt – black

The Sub-10 really kicks out some deep base. I have it in a room that is about 12X14 and it really fills the room with sound. I keep it turned down most of the time, as it vibrates the dishes. It is large, take the measurements, make a cardboard box and see where you will place it. It’s easy to connect, and I like the Klipsch sound and quality. As far as I’m concerned, it a great unit and good value.

Sony SA-W3000 Performance Line 12 180-Watt Subwoofer (each black)

this is exactly what all the previous reviews said it was……a truly deep value for money. the bass is as deep as could be without noticeable distortion and it is clean looking enough to pass the wife’s scrutiny. i am a music buff and i find the bass production to be just as good as the very, very good sony sf 6000 front speakers i use. however the big advantage with this unit is when watching movies…..5.1, 3.1 or 2.1, the bass is way deeper than you can get with the big front speakers. the difference is really dramatic, even to a new comer’s ears.

it should be also noted that the unit DOES have an auto off function (not described on Amazon) which can be disabled at the back. this is great, except when actually watching a movie because it shuts of within 5 mins if it does not receive a low bass signal from the amps, so during dialogue it sleeps in low power and then has a delayed restart when the bass returns.

i use my sub in a large room and you really have to crank the power up, close to max, to be truly impressed. so i think maybe the bigger rooms need the bigger 15″ sub, but i have not compared it to be sure but it is worrisome to operate so close to max, even if it is sweet to the ears. if you have a medium or smaller room you should be overwhelmed.

anyway, i am certain that you cannot find a sub with similar specs and great reviews anywhere near this price so i urge you……..ENJOY!!!

Polk Audio PSWi225 Wireless Subwoofer

I was looking for a wireless sub to complement a 32″ Sony XBR LCD TV that has 5.1 surround bar and a small built-in subwoofer at the back on the LCD panel. Since this TV is in a bedroom I don’t have enough space to add external speakers or any other audio components, which is why I paid a premium to get the built-in 5.1.

When I saw this wireless sub at $208 on Amazon, it was worth trying so I ordered it and received it in less than a week. Took me 5 mins to plug in and VOW, what a difference it made! The wireless transmitter has Audio-L & R ports that are connected to the Audio out of my TV. It also has a LFE input to connect directly to the sub woofer output of an amp. I’m blown away by the quality of this product and the ease of use. Now I’m so used to this thing that if I turn it off, the built-in 5.1 TV speakers that used to sound pretty good, feel like tin-can speakers. I am extremely happy with this product (at this price point) and am thinking of adding another one to complement two 8″ ceiling speakers in my family room. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to add that extra touch of bass to an existing TV or iPod dock or any speakers that lack the bass. I hope the $208 price stays the same for a while or even drops further.

Pinnacle Speakers SUB-SONIX 10-200 10-Inch 200 Watt Front Firing Powered Subwoofer (Black)

I’ve recently purchased the Pinnacle 10″ sub to replace the existing 7″ Aiwa sub that I had for dozen plus years. It’s not fair to compare the two units, but the 10″ just blows it away. Even with the volume at mid setting, it’s plenty loud for the home theater system in my family room (approx 15×25 ft). 200W is plenty plenty! Sound is very very full, without any distortions. Overall workmanship is very good, brass feet is a nice touch (for obvious audio purposes). On the back of the sub, there’s only frequency control, level control, and phase switch. Please note that there’s only the RCA plug for Subwoofer (LFE) connection. It won’t work out of the box, unless your audio system has direct subwoofer connection. As for me, I’ve upgraded my stereo with AV Receiver (Onkyo TX-SR508) as my stereo did not have LFE output.

I’ve also contacted Pinnacle and rec’d immediate response. If there’s any issues in the future, I would expect very good service from the manufacturer.

I would recommend this sub to anyone looking for a great subwoofer!

Polk Audio Monitor Series PSW10 10-Inch Powered Subwoofer (Single Cherry)

While I was looking for sub-woofer I was comparing PSW10 and PSW404. PSW404 sounds better but for the price $110 vs. $250 at J&R I opted for PSW10. The sale representative dropped the price for me even though they still selling PSW10 for $200 here. Those of you who worry about no LFE input, that shouldn’t be a problem. All you have to do is connect the sub-woofer output of the receiver to either the right or left input on the sub-woofer. And then set the variable low pass filter on the sub-woofer to the highest setting. This will set the internal low pass filter above the low pass filter frequency given by your receiver and create an LFE input. Or you may use a RCA cable to provide a connection to both inputs on the sub-woofer from the LR pre-out from the receiver. Then adjust the cross over frequency from the woofer as desired. It sounds a little louder and better for me. I bought Monster sub-woofer cable and it sounds no better than RCA cable. Try not to waste your money on this. It has 7.4 out of 10 in CNet rating and it is #6 in editor’s top list for sub-woofers. I matched PSW10 with R300, RTi4, R150, CSi3 and Denon 1906 receiver. Mainly used for HDTV over the air, DVD movies and some FM. It sounds a lot better than the sub-woofer from RM6750. It carries 5 years warranty but make sure you buy from Authorize dealer. For the price I paid I am more than happy with it. I hope this helps to your decision.

Yamaha YST-SW216BL Advanced YST II Front-Firing Active Subwoofer

This subwoofer puts out plenty of deep tight natural sounding bass, not “boomy” bass. It sounds great! I am using a Harmon Kardon 3380 receiver and 2 Klipsch SB-1 bookshelf speakers, and this sub in a 12×20 room and it fills the room with sound.I listen to mostly jazz and classical, with some new-age thrown in. On ocassion though I pop in Sound Garden or Metallica too. I find that I have to adjust the bass output down quite abit when rockin’ out, or the bass is overwhelming.There is no auto on feature on this sub, but I have it plugged into a switched outlet on the receiver, so it goes off and on with it.Overall, I recommend it highly.

Yamaha YST-FSW150BL Advanced YST II Down-Firing Active Subwoofer

This subwoofer pairs perfectly with the Yamaha YSP-4000BL Digital Sound Projector to provide incredible sound for a home theater. The setup for the YSP-4000 will automatically do the crossover for the subwoofer. Using the enclosed Yamaha link cable, the subwoofer will automatically be turned on and off with the YSP-4000. I can and do strongly recommend this combination for a home theater that not only sounds great buts looks good as well.

JBL Balboa SUB 10 – 10-Inch Powered Subwoofer

I purchased this subwoofer to replace an old subwoofer from a HTIB (Home Theater In a Box) system. I chose this particular subwoofer first because of the brand and second because of the price. I have used JBL products for years (Home, Car, and Professional) and have always been very pleased with their performance. This one is no different.

When it arrived, I was quite surprised at it’s size. It is much bigger than I expected for a single 10″ subwoofer but still comfortably fits in next to my entertainment center.

As for the sound, I would consider this subwoofer very good but not great. It has much better low end extension than your typical HTIB subwoofer but it’s not going to shake the ground. I have never been fond of 10″ low frequency drivers and this one isn’t going to change my view of them. For some reason, I always find 10″ drivers to be more “muddy” sounding than a 12″ or even an 8″ driver. However, when the next step up (12″) costs three times what this one does, I can certainly make an exception. That said, this subwoofer does sound good and has no trouble filling my entire living room with good solid bass.

The features on this subwoofer are also very good. It has speaker level and line level stereo inputs as well as a separate line level LFE input for feeding from a Home Theater receiver. One thing to note, the manual says that the LFE input will bypass the crossover setting. This is actually preferable since the crossover function should be handled by your receiver so that the sub picks up where the main speakers drop off and there is no or very little frequency overlap.

One thing to be cautious of is the power that this thing has. 100w RMS/225w Peak may not sound like much but it is more than enough to fill your average living room/den or to upset your neighbors if you live in an apartment.

All in all, this is an excellent choice for the price and I am very pleased with it.

Energy ESW-M6 800 Watt Mini Subwoofer (Black)

Will this sub blow you out of your living room? <<Nope>> But is will add a nice helping of bass to your system. I was surprised by its size. Takes some adjustments to get the right mix. but it pulls it off nicely. Doesn’t produce low lows, but it added a huge improvement to my Bose Acoustimass system which never gave me the bass I wanted or needed. I do love the fact that it is tiny and can be put anywhere almost hidden. Small foot print. Great looking (if you can find it) the finish is of beauty. I stronger suggest it if you need additional bass. If you looking to annoy your neighbors, probably won’t happen. 4.5 Stars

VIZIO VSB210WS Universal HD Sound Bar with Wireless Subwoofer

As a new owner of a Samsung LN55B640 HDTV I was disappointed with the tinny sound from the speakers. After researching the alternatives (subwoofer, soundbar system, 5.1 home theater system) I decided to try the Vizio Soundbar System and for me it’s the perfect solution. The soundbar sits on the top shelf of the TV stand, under the HDTV, and the wireless powered subwoofer is on the floor to the left side. I used the included RCA cables for audio, but probably will buy a digital optical cable later.

The treble and mid-range are full and rich, and the subwoofer provides satisfying bass. It’s not true surround sound, but fakes it pretty well, [...] it’s an incredible value. Using the little remote control (included) you can adjust the soundbar volume, and then adjust the subwoofer volume. On the right side of the soundbar is the IR “eye” for the remote, as well as nine LEDs. The six white LEDs display the volume (both overall and subwoofer, depending on which one you are adjusting), the red LED indicates that the soundbar and subwoofer are linked up (there is also a little LED on the subwoofer front), and the two blue LEDs indicate that the TVVOL (controlling commercial loudness) and the SRS (simulated surround) are engaged.

As shipped from Vizio, the IR “eye” and LED panel is covered by a sticky-backed grey foam pad. This dims the LEDs, but also has the effect of masking the IR “eye”, and making it difficult to use the remote. After carefully removing the black soundbar grill, I gently pried off the sticky-back foam and, presto, problem solved. Now I can use the remote to change the soundbar volume from any seating position, and the LEDs are clearly visible (they wink off seconds after making any volume changes).

Although [...] rates the Sony soundbar system a notch above this one, I would disagree, having listened to them both. The Vizio is as good or better than the Sony competitor, but at under [...], you really cannot go wrong with either one.

JBL ES250PBK 400-Watt High-Powered 12-Inch Subwoofer – Black

I originally was going to order the ES150PBk 200watt sub-woofer, but it was not going to be shipped until mid April. So I went with JBL’s 300watt RMS (500Watt Peak) model. I paid $353.00 with a $30.00 off (for applying for an Amazon credit card) and this brought the price down to $323.00 with “free” super saver delivery. This unit will shake your living room during explosions in action movies (check out Pearl Harbor and Live Free, Die Young) and provides a nice, tight bass in music. I only have it turned up to just passed the mid-point & that is very loud. It is well designed, attractive, and you get more than your money’s worth. You can not go wrong for this price! By the way, it does come with a removable black grill that is not pictured. I researched several other sub-woofers and none came close to providing the specs that this one does at this price and from such a well-established company. Last, but not least, JBL has been making speakers since the 1930’s and is at the forefront of loudspeakers for the music industry. Because I am a tech savvy musician, I am well aware of JBL’s reputation. So, in closing, rest assured that you are getting an outstanding product, through a trusted, reliable and reputable company at an outstanding price!!!

Sony SSF-5000 Floor Standing 3-way Speaker (Pair)

First, I am an average listener – let me repeat that: I AM AN AVERAGE LISTENER – and I believe that the Sony SSF-5000 floor speakers are very loud, with good crisp highs, strong mids, and the bass response is absolutely great. If you need earth-shaking bass, you need a subwoofer, but these speakers will kick out a fair amount of bass – enough to feel through your floor. There is no distortion that I can hear, even when I have the system cranked up. Speaker connections were easy, even when I used fat 12-gauge oxygen-free copper wires. The black finish is nice. The cloth grills look great. These speakers match all the other Sony speakers in my system. I hope this review helps you.

Polk Audio Atrium 45 All-Weather Speakers (Pair White)

I have been using these speakers for about 2 months, and I’m finding them to be one of my better recent purchases. I’ll go through the main categories and give you my impression:

SOUND: Obviously the most important factor. I set these up in my living room and let them play for about 2 straight days in order to break them in a bit. Once I put them outside, they really shined. They fill our deck and pool area with a pleasing and musical sound. They are not going to get you a ton of bass, but at the same time the music sounds “full” and does not have a “tinny” or overbearing treble sound. My wife and I agree that these are nice sounding speakers.

APPEARANCE: I got the white ones, and they match perfectly under my gutter overhang. They’re well made and look like a quality item to anyone that notices them up there.

INSTALLATION: Clearly this can vary, but I found them easy to install. Basically just screw in the holders, then attach the speakers to the holders. Running the cables to the speakers is the tricky part, but i managed to hide it under the gutter as well. If you’re using them outside, you’ll need underground low voltage wire (like they use for landscaping lights). I bought my wire at Home Depot – cheap, $17 for 100′.

VALUE: For the price (I paid $125 including s/h) they’re an excellent value.

MISC – One huge benefit of these speakers is they require very little power to drive them. I’m using an old Denon receiver with 60 watts (30 to each speaker) and it’s more than enough. I can barely turn it up before it reaches a level that would be annoying to the neighbors.

To anyone considering these speakers, I highly recommend them!

BIC America DV62si Bookshelf Speakers (Pair Black)

I just wrote a review of the the Dv-62CLRS speaker, which is a top of the line center speaker. When I bought the DV-62CLRS I also got a pair of the DV-62si’s. I paired them together with the DV-62CLRS speaker as my front speakers for my sourond sound system matched to a Rotel Processor and Parasound Amp. After close to a 100 hour burn in these speaker started to come to life. All I can say is that for the price they just can not be beaten. It is a shame that most stereo stores do not stock these so as to compare them to their high dollar speakers. Could be there is some logic to this as they would have a hard time selling those other brand name speakers(at two to three times the cost). when compaired to the B.I.C.s

Bose VCS-10 Center Channel – Speaker home theater sound for component systems – Black

I almost didn’t order this based on the poor reviews and Consumers Reports findings. I needed a thin center speaker to go with the acoustimass cubes – this was the logical choice. After researching it at length there were mixed reviews with many negative comments. I called Cruthfield and the Bose Outlet to get their opinions. They were surprised to hear that there were negative comments. The Bose outlet advised theirs sounded great and noted it must be hooked directly to the receiver – not the module like the cubes. I have had the speaker for a couple weeks and it sounds great. I have two other surround systems, one high end and a lower end system and the Bose performs admirably for such a compact system. The articulation of words coming from the center speaker sounds like a real person. I don’t understand the bad reviews – unless it’s not being connected properly. Worked for me – and as most retailers note you can always send it back.

Polk Audio PSW110 10-Inch Powered Subwoofer (Single Black)

I had $300 in gift certificates from Best Buy and my Mission ASI 700 sub had died. My home theatre is relatively small so I don’t need a 300+ watt monster. I auditioned the Klipsch and it was just too boomy for my tastes, I love tight well defined bass and boomy only when it is suppose to be. I was impressed with the Definitive PSB1000 it was tight and punchy, but I did not want to spend $499.00+. The Polk PSW110 was 249.99 and it gave tight bass, but definitely seemed a little thin at the store. It has a 30 day money back from Best Buy, so I gave it a shot. When I got it home, I fired it up with my Outlaw 950 and the sound was tight, but still seemed to be a little thin and muddy sounding. Knowing that out of the box is not a speakers true sound, I loaded up the CD carousel and let it go at moderate volume. About 4 hours in, “The sub came to life!!!!” It put out extremely tight, strong and well defined bass, beyond its $249 price tag. The only thing that separated its sound quality from a $500+ sub is that, it’s low end could be a hair lower. I put in X2 (X-Men United)on the DVD player and this sub did a fantastic job!!!! The definitive does go a little bit lower, but this is every bit as tight, defined and musical, extremely impressive for a $249.00 sub. YOU MUST GIVE IT AT LEAST 4 HOURS OF BREAK IN BEFORE MAKING A SERIOUS DECISION. CHANCES ARE THAT THE DISPLAY AT BEST BUY HAS NOT BEEN BROKEN IN.

Uniden BC72XLT Handheld Scanner (Black)

As they say, “a little bit of knowledge goes a long way…” If you live in or near a big city, this scanner will do absolutely no good because large metropolitan police forces use a trunk communication system due to the large number of units at work at one time. These systems aren’t actually scrambled, but due to high volume of calls, it would be hard of a single scanner unit to keep track of them so while you might be able to hear one end of the converstaion, you won’t necessarily be able to hear the other.

This unit is perfect for smaller cities which use frequencies betweem 153.0000 and 169.0000 for their police communications. The unit is also good for tracking airport traffic and, as you know by now, NASCAR events. The best thing to do when scanning for new frequencies is to have access to a code book for your area so you’ll know what you’re listening to at the time.

If you’re technologically-challenged in any way, you’re better off letting someone who knows what they’re doing program the basic channels for you. I like the fact that’s it’s a lot smaller and not as heavy as its predecesors. It’s a conspicuous as a mobile phone and a lot easier to carry on your belt without it getting in the way.

Uniden 100-Channel Clock Radio Scanner

This is a very good scanner. The instructions are not exactly “clear as a bell”, but if you’ve ever had a scanner before you should be able to get the gist of the operation. {To program, press PGM, enter the frequency and the memory location you want, then press PGM again.} When it is in the search mode, you can press the “bank number” (1-10) and enable/disable that bank. You can enter 10 frequencies per bank, you can set one frequency per bank as a priority channel. The weather band and tv/fm radio bands work ok. I love the fact that it runs on the batteries when unplugged, and then when you plug it in it switches over to ac power – although you’re not quite sure which it’s running from since there’s no indication. The alarm is a bit on the weak side, but then you’re probably not buying it to be an alarm clock.

Uniden Bearcat BCT8 BearTracker Warning System with 800 MHz TrunkTracker III

If you’re not sure about scanning or especially trunking, this would be a great way to experience it without spending the bigger bucks for the higher end scanners. I have them also, but purchased this one for a barebones emergency communications room for my employer. The radio functionality is just as good as my much more expensive radios and this one was just as easy to program too(I agree with a previous reviewer that ARC8 from Butel is the way to work with this radio). As a matter of fact, I would recommend to anyone planning on the purchase of a computer-programmable scanner that you should include a software package in your budget. There’s just no easier way to go – it avoids all the button pushing on the radio. (Note: do not bother with the included crippled software or its upgrade; ARC8 and other choices that will work better and are simpler.)

The only thing this radio really lacks is the alphanumberic tags – you’ll need to remember what id is what service when it stops. But the price is SO much less!

Update 7/06: With the FCC’s bandplan change coming soon, it’s good to know that this radio IS firmware upgradeable so that you will not lose the trunking ability when the bandplan changes arrive in your area.
The travel features are fun – when I travel, I don’t care if I’m listening to the PD district or beat that I am staying in, I just want to hear something! The search features and control-channel-only mode will allow easy use in a city away from home. All the rest of the features – good audio, nice backlighting, decent size, quality of build – go along with how good Uniden has been making scanners.

This would make a great first scanner, and it also makes a great 4th one too! And if you’re thinking this might be too expensive for a first scanner – spend the extra money for this one over the BC350C, it’s a LOT easier to use.

Nascar Bearcat Portable Scanner

This is a fine searching/scanning radio (with scanning defined as finding stations within the frequencies that have been stored by the user in banks of 10 with 20 banks available). It is very well made and should last a long time. Many of the numerous keys perform two functions, one as labeled and a second one using the FN key when pressed first. It is a fairly heavy hand-held unit with back-lighting supplied automatically only when needed or separately when desired by the user. This unit the new bc95xlt (or the newer designation bc95xltb) is an update of the earlier Uniden model that had railroad band searching (by individual channels) for example directly within the six pre-programmed service search bands, but now to do railroad listening you can simply specify one of the 10 unspecified frequency search bands instead. Other reviewers have found this change to be totally adequate even if you are a railroad enthusiast just like I am.
I am also into aircraft band listening and this is still designated within the 6 pre-programmed service band search sequence. Also, the weather bands which don’t search automatically (since there are only 7 USA channels) are extremely clear with no static at all. I am extremely pleased with this unit and I am very glad that I was able to get it at this very low price (compared to the bc72xlt which is still just like the old version of the bc95xlt as can readily be confirmed on Uniden’s own website).

The unit also has a nice built-in speaker that is surprisingly adequate for everyday listening, but also comes with a mini-plug jack for a monaural earphone (but not supplied surprisingly!). It also has a separate BNC antenna jack (and it does come with the antenna!) as well as analog controls for both squelch and separately for the speaker volume. The LCD display is very nice and easy to read and indicates a multitude of the numerous possible options such as: 1) Low battery indicator (for either regular Alkaline AA cells or Ni-Metal hydride rechargeable batteries with a switch internal to the battery compartment for setting which type is being used), 2) Searching the specific service band search types- Weather (WX), Police (POL), Fire, Aircraft (AIR), Marine (MRN by channel), HAM, etc., 3) Bank Scanning (for user or computer-stored frequencies), 4) Close Call-Capture listening for very nearby sources of unknown origin, 5) DELAY allowances for time departures between outgoing and incoming radio signals, etc.

CON: The unit’s belt clip can only be removed by unscrewing the two screws directly from the back of the unit, but on the plus side, it will certainly stay on very snugly and securely when it is needed. Also the serial or USB cable as well as the software needed for using a PC to store frequencies automatically must be purchased separately directly from Uniden.
The unit also comes with an AC adaptor which is probably because the batteries don’t last a super long time. Another reviewer estimated a battery lifetime of 5 days for heavy usage.
This is also not the unit to buy if you live in a BIG city where far more expensive trunk-tracking technology is needed to adequately track Police conversations on multiple frequencies for example.

Uniden Solara DSC VHF Waterproof Marine Radio (White)

I picked up this radio “rebranded” by a marine retailer.
I’ve found it works very well. I was also able to connect a handheld GPS to it with very little effort.
The power selection feature is nice for not blowing away anyone near you. The DSC feature is nice for getting the location of family members in others boats.
I really like the one touch “distress” feature, although I’ve never used it. When connected to a GPS, it will send your location to the Coast Guard. Good for me since my wife doesn’t speak english.
I have nothing negative to report other than the mic cannot be removed. However, there is a remote mic available separately.

I would like to include instructions for connecting a serial connector to the included accesory cable (for the GPS) but amazon doesn’t allow this. Maybe you can “search” for it.

Uniden DSC-BK VHF Waterproof Marine Radio (Black)

What can I say, the Uniden DSC-BK Marine Radio is affordable and offers everything a boat owner looks for in a marine radio. We installed it to our 21 foot bass boat, which of course matches perfectly since the boat and interior are black. I highly recommend to invest in an antenna to get better reception and have “piece of mind” that your call will be heard. We went with the TRAM 1610-HC 5-Ft VHF Marine Antenna. Installation was simple and the cables were long enough to reach the antenna and battery. The unit also comes with microphone hanger.

Has a very large well lit display, it can even be seen in direct sunlight. Volume can be really cranked up. We live in New York and are very close to the Canadian border. Every time we are on Lake Erie we are able to hear both the US and Canadian frequencies. I giggle every time I see the distress button since it reminds me of a school fire alarm. You have to flip up the plastic tap to reveal the distress button. According to the instructions, the distress signal can be heard from 20 nautical miles away, or as my husband puts it “20-25 miles as the bird flies”.

Now we can feel safe when boating on the Great Lakes. Uniden is know for their reputable products and are built to last.

Uniden BC346XT Handheld TrunkTracker III Analog Police Scanner

I was given this model as a free upgrade due to the one I ordered being out of stock. At first it is a little hard to program since I didnt buy the software, but I read some help forums I got from google searching the model and it was a breeze. Now that I have all my locals programmed I love it. I pick up police units that are 40 miles or more away from me at times. It is kind of funny though when the close call feature pick up drive thru windows and you can hear what everyone around you is ordering. I gave it four stars because the manual is only on disk and is very confusing. Google search for help and your set. Also I use this site to get all the freqs I could ever need and they are very accurate [..]

Uniden BCD396XT Handheld TrunkTracker IV Digital Police Scanner

I bought the analog version last year this time, and enjoyed it for a month before I returned it. It was too much money for what it did. This year, I tried again, but stepped up to the digital version. This scanner picks up everything in my area (except my encrypted county). Once I added an external antenna, things came in loud and clear. It takes a LOT of practice. it is very complicated and your knowledge of radios will have to increase. After over a month, I am still practicing daily.

Anyway, its very well organized, picks up the signals well, and is easy on the batteries. Does exactly what its supposed to. Haven’t found any bugs either. Finally, this year they have an actual manual. The website that tried to be a manual is horrible.

This scanner has helped me navigate traffic on the interstates many times. I won’t send this one back. Eventhough I think its overpriced, I’ll be keeping it.

Uniden SC230 Scanner featuring Pre-Programmed NASCAR / Busch Frequencies

I bought this as a gift for my husband and he loved it. He doessn’t care for Nascar so he deleted those preset channels. He has enjoyed listening in to police, airplanes, you name it. It’s small, very portable and lightweight. The only thing I was disappointed in was the computer connector. It uses an older connection instead of a USB port so we can only plug it into our older laptop and not our new Dell Desktop.

Yamaha YST-SW315 10-Inch Digital Pro Series Subwoofer (Black)

I picked up the Sony 8″ (SA-WM250 100-Watt) Active Subwoofer recently, and it’s quite nice (especially the price at under $100.00). But this smaller system can’t hold a candle to the Yahama. This 10″ system pumps out clean, crisp base and its cut-off option allows the user to limit the higher frequency response of the sub-woofer (and let your mid-range speakers do the job). The result – a pretty massive, well defined bottom that can be as subtle or as “in your face” as you like it and which will nicely compliment just about any existing audio/visual system.

Because I use a pair of smaller AAD speakers, I keep the volume level for the subwoofer at below 50%, but the frequency cut-off a bit higher (110 hz out of max 140hz) for a nicely balanced, very full sound. Another nice feature is a bass button selection for either (i) music, or (ii) movies. The latter provides maximum bass response – suitable for achieving something similar to what you get in movie theatres – the rumbling bass that lodges in your stomach. The former, music option, is ideal and very complimentary to my existing stereo arrangement.

If you’re unhappy with the response of your shelf speakers (want more oomph?), you’ll love this Yamaha subwoofer. It’ll add depth to your existing system, and add real luster to your audio-video setup. I recently re-watched “The Two Towers” on DVD using the Yahama – the experience was truly like a return to the theatre.

Polk Audio DSW PRO 600 12-Inch Powered Subwoofer (Single Black)

This is a great sub. It has a good size enclosure for a 12 inch driver and feels quite solid. No noticeable resonances when you rap on the unit. Can be converted for either down firing or forward firing operation for use in a cabinet as my installation requires. Despite this necessary poor placement it fills my rather large theater room with strong base. The “list price” of $799 on amazon is wrong though. Polks own web site shows it as $679.95 which is the supposedly discounted price on amazon.

Velodyne Impact-10 10-Inch Powered Subwoofer (Black)

I’m actually surprised at the lack of reviews on these units, but as they are relatively new, I guess that’s to be expected. I recently had a Klipsch sub’s amp burn out on me and decided to replace it with something a little beefier (It gave me 7 years of love). But as the outage was unplanned, I didn’t want to spend a large sum on the replacement. I was looking at the Velondyne vx-10 which has had a lot of nice reviews and could be picked up online for as low as $140 or so, though all brick and mortars I have contacted sell them for ~$249. I would have picked one up even despite the odd color scheme, but found that Velondyne had released the Impact series recently, and what reviews I could find suggested that they had significantly greater output with the kind of sound quality you would expect from Velondyne. They looked much nicer too.
The connections are nice, I would have preferred the crossover frequency knob was a little more clearly labeled, but since there’s a gradual roll off, it shouldn’t have any significant effect if you’re a notch off.
The bass is easy and smooth, and if you set things up correctly, I found it a tad boomy at first, but spend a little time adjusting things and found that it had a very pleasantly flat (in a good way) deep output. I don’t have the kind of location where I can turn it up too much, and I think, perhaps, for my apartment complex, this woofer is ridiculously overpowered. But you can leave the volume down and still enjoy a nice pleasant “punch” even when it’s hardly audible. I’ll be moving soon, and I have a feeling even with a moderately large living room and some yard space, I’ll always risk angering the neighbors if I ever leave the volume up to high.
Really enjoying the kind of bass I never knew existed in some of the music I had. And from what I hear, it does an even nicer job with cranking out the special effects in movies. I’m sure you can spend $1000 more and get something that sounds better, but for the price, I can’t imagine there is much out there that rivals this…

BIC America F12 12-Inch 475-Watt Front Firing Powered Subwoofer

This is the second home audio sub-woofer that I’ve bought. The other one is a little Sony powered sub that came with a Sony HTIB that I purchased about 6 years ago. It served it’s purpose, but wasn’t going to do the job for the home theater I’m currently putting together. I picked up a few Energy speaker separates to make a nice 5.0 system and a friend of mine from work gave me a couple old Yamaha’s that pushed my system to 7.0. I don’t claim to be a sound pro or an audiophile in the least. I basically spent a good amount of hours for a few weeks or so researching good entry-level sub-woofers that would sound great. After looking at tons of different brands, reading a bunch of sub-woofer reviews, and going through different forums to see what the more experienced and knowledgeable people had to say, I came to the conclusion that for the price, this sub-woofer was agreeable one of the best in it’s class. I searched around and found it for a good price and it arrived within a week. It definitely has enough power for a good sized room (I used it in a room of about 20′ X 15′ with cathedral ceiling). The bass output is clean. It will shake the walls if that is what you want, and the bass output is still clean and tight. I’ve used it for about 40% music and 60% movies. It seems to do very well with both. Now I can enjoy a blu-ray movie that gives 7.1 audio output. Sounds similar to the theaters.

Hauppauge 1212 HD-PVR High Definition Personal Video Recorder

Here’s the summary:

- Not a DVR. This is a pass-thru from audio/video source to PC.

- Generates H.264 at Baseline Profile 1.0 only — not the High Profile 4.1 that x264.exe-based programs generate. The Baseline H.264 quality is not as good as the High Profile quality using the same bit rate.

- Generates default .M2TS files which are difficult to edit — use the .TS file output instead for easier editing.

- Arcsoft software is good for capturing and that’s it. The software for creating a disk always seems to re-encode — a process that takes my PC days or makes my PC hang.

- After capture, I have to use third-party software to finish production.

The product is not an easy out-of-the box solution. Hookup is easy, and the Arcsoft software installation is easy, capturing is easy, but it gets tricky after that.

When you capture, you can set bitrates. I set my 720x480i broadcast to 4.1 MB/s thinking it would be fine. When I made a disk and played it on the Blu Ray player, the video had a horribly compressed look. That was a straight H.264 file from the HD-PVR 1212 unit to disk without transcoding. But when I transcode some other high-quality 480i video using an x264.exe-based application with 4.1 MB/s the video quality is fine.

Now I made the mistake of capturing my first video in .M2TS. Tried to edit it. Lots of software doesn’t like .M2TS. I didn’t know that then, but I know now. Fortunately I was able to use the freeware TSRemux to convert the .M2TS file to a .TS file. Now apps like H264TS_Cutter and multiAVCHD are happier. Lots of crashes and failures with .M2TS.

Editing. I use H264TS_Cutter to cut out commercials. This app is handy — you take clips you want to save and create a cut without transcoding. This is important in the H.264 video world because transcoding takes days on my PCs, but the H264TS_Cutter makes a cut in minutes. You can also join two files in this manner. H264TS_Cutter has never crashed on me with .TS files. I tried using a little more complicated app for cutting — TS Packet Editor — but I had to reboot my PC after each file edit.

Creating a video disk. I use multiAVCHD. It lets me make a simple menu for the multiple titles. To get this to generate a Blu-Ray format file structure, I had to (after clicking Start) select the button [AVCHD compatible players] — the button [For all Blu-ray players] wouldn’t work in my Blu-Ray player.

The size of the output files determines what size disk I can use. I use Imgburn to burn to DVD-5, DVD-9, or BD-25 — this plays in my Blu-Ray player as long as I choose the UDF physical format and UDF 2.50.

That’s the quick way of taking the output from the HD-PVR 1212 and placing it on Blu-Ray compatible disk. If all this that I’ve described sounds like Greek, be wary of this purchase. You’ll need to do your homework on using these 3rd-party apps (though fortunately the ones I’ve described are free) to keep the production time to a minimum and spare yourself days of needless suffering. Had these tools been included and described in the bundled software for this purchase, it would have saved me about two weeks of trial, research, and error.

TiVo TCD746320 Premiere DVR (Black)

I did give the new interface another shot for a couple of days. I like where they are going with it, but as I said before it isn’t a finished product. It locked up on me twice while flipping through the menus. As others have mentioned, if you drill down into the menu system you will eventually end up in the old menu system. They have a new option to list Oscar winning films. So I select a movie and it says it’s available from Blockbuster. Cool, but I haven’t been a member of Blockbuster for years so I go back and configure my TiVo not to search Blockbuster (nice feature). I then go back to the list of Oscar winning films and it still shows the same movie. I select the movie again and this time it tells me it’s not available for me to watch. So why would I want to see a partial list of Oscar winning movies that currently aren’t available for me to watch on my TiVo?

For people who have rated the TiVo Premiere one or two stars because of the new user interface, well I can’t argue with them. Perhaps TiVo should have sold the Premiere with the old user interface enabled with the option of using the new beta user interface. I’m sure TiVo will push out updates in the future to fix the issues, but we’re not talking about a few minor bugs here. I think TiVo released the new user interface way too early.

I’ve been using my TiVo Premiere for 3 weeks now with the old user interface. I’ve had no issues with it and it’s as stable as my TiVo HD. However, I see little difference between my TiVo HD and my TiVo Premiere while using the old user interface. I would still rate the TiVo Premiere as 4 stars with the old user interface. But as I mentioned in my original review, it isn’t much of an upgrade from the TiVo HD. One thing that the Premiere has over the HD is the ability to run the new user interface (which isn’t ready for prime time).

TiVo AN0100 Wireless N Network Adapter (Gray)

When you understand what this thing really does, it becomes clear that it’s an amazing device. Yes, you need to plug it into power, but that’s only because it has a built-in microprocessor and internal web-based setup guide and those capabilities require power. This isn’t a “dumb,” USB-based adapter. It’s much more powerful, and it serves as a stand-alone ethernet bridge.

As I mentioned, the basic idea is that this device is nothing more than a wireless-to-ethernet bridge. By enabling it and hooking it to your TiVo’s ethernet port, your TiVo simply thinks it’s hooked to a hard-wired ethernet connection. The beauty is that it requires no changes to your TiVo configuration. The adapter is detected automatically.

Ok, so it’s a wireless-to-ethernet bridge, like many others available. What makes this one different? First, it’s FAST, and it gets great reception, and it also works in the 5 GHz band, which is less crowded than the typical 2.4 Ghz band. If you have an N-standard wireless router (or dual-band router) such as the Linksys WRT610, you can fully utilize the power of this adapter. I’ve tried it using both old-fashioned WEP encryption, as well as the WPA2-AES mode (which is the Draft-N standard encryption protocol). I EASILY get 25 Mbit/sec data rates from across the house and through walls from my Linksys 5 Ghz N router.

Simply put, if you set this up properly and don’t get full-speed streaming via Netflix through your TiVo HD, it’s due to excessive Netflix server loading (or limits to your home internet service) and not a speed bottleneck in this adapter. Or, your adapter may simply be too far from your router, but I find this adapter to work very well at longer distances.

As a side note, if you hook this adapter to any PC or laptop via the ethernet port, you can use it as your N wireless connection to your router and to the internet. That is, if you have a machine that needs a wireless connection, and you don’t have or don’t want to put a wireless adapter in it, this device works great as a general-purpose wireless-to-ethernet bridge. You simply connect it to your remote PC’s ethernet port and set it up. Thus, it’s a convenient way to get a N connection to your N wireless router from a PC or laptop that doesn’t have wireless but does have an ethernet port. I love this thing, and it’s well worth the money.

One final note for techies… if you use “channel bonding” on your router, that is, joining two channels together to achieve 40 Mhz bandwidth instead of the typical 20 Mhz, this devices takes advantage of that too!

TiVo TCD748000 Premiere XL DVR (Black)

This is finally a worthy successor to the Tivo Series 2. While there have been 2 previous HD Tivos before, their relative cost and the lack of available options for lifetime subscription made them unattractive financially compared with the cable company DVR. If you purchase directly from Tivo, there is a (…) lifetime subscription option to those with a previous lifetime subscription. That makes this a worthwhile deal, even if it takes about 30+ months to break even.

If you’ve not used a Tivo before, I would say it is head and shoulders above Comcast’s ugly, ill-conceived interface. If you’ve used Verizon, it will be a step up, but not nearly so dramatic. If you’ve used Tivo before, you’ll feel right at home. It’s basically the 8 year old Tivo interface that’s been spiced up here and there, with supporting links to Netflix & Blockbuster for streaming movies.

This Tivo requires an M-Series cable card if you’re not recording from an antenna. If you’re not sure, call your cable company to see if they support it. Verizon did struggle with this question, although eventually I found someone to confirm the Verizon cable card supports multi-stream. However, the Verizon tech they sent was helpful and had the job complete in about 15 minutes.

Although the Tivo supports resolutions up to 1080P, it is only available at 1080p/24, so if you have a slightly older set that only supports 1080p/60, you’ll have to drop back to 1080i. That isn’t spelled out anywhere on Tivo’s site, although it probably doesn’t make much of a difference.

This Tivo networks nicely with older Tivo’s allowing you to transfer video between them, although it’s not possible to transfer from an HD Tivo to a SD Tivo, although the reverse works nicely. You can also use the Tivo Desktop (a free download) to transfer to your PC. You can even save it to watch later or on your portable (Google “kmttg tivo”).

I won’t write a review of the Tivo interface. More people have done it better than I could, so Google for reviews. You should know, although the new menus are in high definition, once you get away from the primary menus, it drops back to the old 480/SD menus. The only reason I can tell is the screen on the TV flips a bit until it resyncs with the lower resolution.

This version of the Tivo has a backlit remote, although by default that isn’t turned on. It also supports separate volume and muting with an A/V receiver, although it doesn’t give you the ability to turn it on with your remote. My A/V receiver did not work with the codes provided, but a chat with Tivo pointed me to a page on their support site where you’ll find the new Tivo has a “learning” remote. That did the trick.

If you use Tivo’s Chat support, the agents are well-informed and patient.

I’ve had one brief incident as I messed around with various menus where the HDMI lost sound sync with the TV. A quick resync through the A/V receiver got me back and running in a few seconds. Time will tell if that was a one-time glitch or a problem.

Previous Tivos have worked with Amazon video on demand (which works reasonably well). Now there are additional options to select high-def material, and you also have options to download from Blockbuster and Netflix. Keep in mind there is a charge for this type of on-demand movie, similar to what you’d expect from your cable company. However, this function is integrated beautifully into the overall search function. As an example, let’s say you’re interested in a program such as “Chuck”. As you search for the program, not only will it find the upcoming episodes on TV, but will also present you with the complete episode guide, giving you the options to either record from cable/antenna, or for shows that aren’t available you can download them to your Tivo to watch. That’s very clever and convenient.

Overall, it’s an expensive purchase, but Tivo does their best not to make you feel stupid for buying it.

Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex TV STAJ100

Ok, let’s get something straight right away. The biggest thing I was looking forward to with this little device was if and how well it handled ISO files. I have great news, in that it does so very nicely. You basically browse to where the ISO files are located, and just click on the file. It starts playing immediately and at that point functions just like a DVD player. I would even suggest that it’s better than a DVD player in that it has a very quick response to commands, such as chapter skips and fast forwarding. Video quality is fantastic. I have this plugged into a Panasonic 42″ Plasma at 1080P and the up-conversion is very good.

So, that being said, I’m immediately happy with this device. For me everything else is just a ‘nice to have’ feature. Let’s talk about those nice to haves…

The device is small. It has a door in the front that can open up to insert Seagate’s FreeAgent’s HDD’s. Doing so isn’t required to use the device at all. You can just as easily stream music/videos/pictures from a network device. However, on the main screen there are buttons associated with music/videos/pictures, that won’t work unless you do have the drive installed and Seagates software sync’ed up with a PC (Win or Mac). At some point, I’ll get around to installing that software on my Mac or my PC, but I haven’t done so yet.

Plugging in and powering up was a snap. It took less than 30 seconds to power up and I was ready to go. There was no lengthy setup to perform. Literally plug and play. I was immediately able to click on some of the Internet features, such as Youtube and Flickr. Looking at pictures in HD is really amazing. Extremely clear and really a pleasure to look at.

The remote is small, but a bit cheap. This seems to be a common theme among these devices in that there’s no real though put into the remote. It’s not that complicated, so I feel it’s very easy to use once you’ve learned the button layout. It has the common playback buttons, as well as arrow buttons and a home button. If you’re ever lost, click on the home button to get back to the main menu. The one thing I hate is that the IR sensors aren’t very forgiving. You have to firmly push on the remote buttons and make sure that you’re pointing directly at the GoFlex. There’s no feedback, so you essentially have to wait a few seconds to know whether or not it’s going to work. I wish there was a LED on the device that blinked when it received a command.

The only other feature that I’m interested in is the NetFlix playback. It works very similar to others in that you can browse your saved queue and select the movie you want to watch. It’s work very well. Video quality also is very good and is likely limited to what NetFlix is able to stream. There’s seems to be zero strain on the device to playback movies.

The interface is very basic. I would place it significantly below the quality of the Roku box, but better than most other media players (aka PCH or NMT, if you know what I’m talking about) I’ve tested. There doesn’t appear to be any way to modify or customize the interface. There’s an options menu that lets you do very common stuff like check the network settings, change video resolution, etc…

Overall, I like the device and successfully met my requirements for ISO files. I hope that future updates improve on the interface as well as add other features. One feature in particular that I would like to see is Amazon OnDemand. I don’t use that service that much, but it’s nice to have when you want to watch some of the latest releases. That being said, I would have no problem in recommending this as a solid Media Player. It’s probably one of the best values out there today.

Pros
====
– Plays ISO files perfectly
– Great up-conversion for movie files
– Excellent video quality (for 42″ plasma @1080p via HDMI)
– NetFlix playback works very well
– Interface is pretty quick, even when browsing network devices
– Excellent value

Cons
====
– The remote is a bit on the cheap, but decent button layout.
– Not enough feedback when using the remote. It’s hard to tell if the button you clicked is doing anything.
– Requires firm button clicks and direct pointing at the device.

Wishlist
========
– Add Amazon OnDemand
– Improvements to interface, such as better feedback when clicking remote buttons
– Improve the remote IR sensitivity
– Recognize folder bitmap images. Would be very helpful when browsing video folders.

ASUS O Play – TV HD Media Player (Black)

I have been waiting for a media player like this for a long time and this one does not disappoint at all. I was thinking of building my own HTPC; but I am glad I held off and waited. This little box does everything you could hope for and it costs less than one hundred dollars. Here is what is awesome about it:

- I had it out of the box and set up in 5 minutes. I networked it to my Windows XP computer (plugged it into my router). There was not one single issue in getting it set up. It works perfectly and it is easy to get going right out of the box. Just pick the right video and audio setting during the setup and off you go (I used HDMI raw).

- It plays every single file format you could want. I was using my Xbox 360 but I got tired of only being able to play .avi files at low resolutions. Now I can play high def .mkv blueray and .iso files and everything else imaginable.

- The video and sound quality if superb. I have played 13 GB Bluray files without so much as a stutter. I have tried to play the bluray files on my computer (on board graphics only) and it grinds to a halt. But the little O!Play doesn’t even break a sweat playing them on my TV. And the digital DTS audio sounds great on my surround sound system.

- No fan noise whatsoever. This thing is silent and it does not get hot at all. Not heat build up.

- Menu is simple and easy to navigate. Not flashy but it works. No complaints here.

- It was easy to program into my logitech remote control. I have set it up already so feel free to go ahead and download it now. Or use the remote that comes with it. It fits in your and nicely and is easy to use.

- I like the option of being able to travel with it and have video content on my flash drive or bring a hard drive (eSATA or USB). Then I could watch my videos anywhere I go. Obviously networking is the way to go at home though, but I really like the versatility. And who knows, maybe someday I will prefer to be able to watch video on my TV without having to boot up my computer.

- Even my wife can figure this thing out and watch content.

- Price is fantastic. It is much cheaper than other players with networking capability. And the Western Digital player cannot be networked so why would you want it — yet their player costs about the same as the O!Play.

- HDMI output on the O!Play works great.

- I am going to dump my cable subscription now and just pick up the free over the air signal for local channels. I can get whatever I else want to watch on the internet and view it through my O!Play.

If you have been looking for a media player, you have just found it. Don’t wait! This thing does everything it promises at an amazing price. And I have had other Asus products and I have come to really like their quality. The only reason to hold off on this (for now) is if you are running Windows 7 as they have not come out with the firmware yet. They will soon enough though.

Seriously, why haven’t you ordered this yet? By they way, I don’t work for Asus or have any financial interest in the company. I just love this product.

Iomega ScreenPlay Plus HD Multimedia Player 1 TB

I watch a lot of foreign movies with “.vob” extensions and don’t like dubbed voice and this box never seems to have a problem with them. It also remembers where you left off if you stop in the middle of a movie and crank it back up a few days later. I haven’t found any other media player, and I’ve tried 3 or 4 other brands, that have both these ability/features (even the ‘director’ unit didn’t). I have a 500MB and a 1TB model. They’re simple to update and operate and really no cons come to mind other that I suppose if the disk went bad you lose it all since it’s integrated but even so the price for the electronics wrapped around the drive is pretty minimal.

Seagate FreeAgent Theater 1080P HD Media Player STCEA201-RK

For my purposes this unit offers advantages over the Western Digital player.

- It plays DVD’s ripped to the hard drive (menus work !)

- Fast Forward and Rewind does not cause the unit to hang up as with the WD player

- The remote control is sized for an adults hands unlike the very small WD remote

- The remote has a volume control and mute button (missing on the WD remote)

- Component output as well as HDMI and composite

- Plays the new format Microsoft Windows 7 media center files

Things that could be improved

- The remote control is a wimp – must be pointed exactly at player

- Fast forward on Media Center files is limited to 2X which is not fast enough for commerical skipping.

Logitech HDTV Widescreen Video Cam

The webcam is an outstanding addition! The ability to add your peers per your choice and have live video chats with high quality streaming video and audio from your home TV is unbeatable. I’m hoping that my contacts from Gmail will be able to be integrated providing me the ability to video chat with people via their smartphones and PC’s too.

Simple to install, plug and play. Zoom quality is phenomenal. Has the ability to pan and tilt while streaming. Not too obtrusive design wise in the room aesthetically. I strongly recommend this unit with the Logitech Revue. This is a must have with the system.

ASUS O Play Air – Wireless N TV HD Media Player

A friend brought the non-wireless version and I got a demo. I decided to give this wireless version a try. Here is my setup: a NAS drive, a 802.11n gigabit rounter and this unit. The unit does not come with good documentation. Unless you are a computer geek like me, setup could be very challenging. Initial connection to play video stored on the NAS drive is very choppy. After a day of investigation (more like trial and error), I isolated the problem to the NAS drive. It had too many services running (e.g. FTP, HTTP, NFS, Media stream Server (for iPOD)). After turning off all services and leaving only CIFS running, the choppiness disappear.

My major complain to this unit is its lack of documention. This networked setup is not plug’n’play. The manufacture need to build a knowledge base for the networked setup or direct customer to some common wiki page.

Roku XDS Streaming Player 1080p

Like a lot of people who use Amazon, I own all kinds of electronic gear. Every once in a while, you get your hands on a device that really stands out in terms of ease of use and performance. When I first hooked up my Slingbox, for example, I realized that it was unique and was going to add something truly useful and impressive to my audio-video set-up. When I read a description of the Roku box, I had a similar expectation. Could it be as easy to use as advertised? Would it perform on a level that would really satisfy? Would it be one of those “stand out” devices? Now I can say in all honesty that the Roku player is everything I hoped and more. When the description says you will be up and running in just a few minutes, you can believe it. I opened the box, plugged in the power cord, attached a cable to my high speed router, and ran audio to my amp. I turned everything on and immediately saw the set-up screen for the Roku player. To run a quick test, I tried streaming a video from Netflix–it worked perfectly. This initial set-up and test took no more than 10 minutes. After several days of using the Roku, I have yet to have even the slightest problem. I have added a couple dozen channels and all work as expected. My only moment of hesitation came when I saw how small the Roku player is. It is tiny sitting there with all the other components, but when I saw what it could do, the size became inconsequential. The Roku player truly is an impressive device. While not necessarily a replacement, the Roku XDS Streaming Player is another serious alternative to cable TV. By the way, for those traveling outside the USA, where Netflix does not allow the streaming of movies on your PC, there is a way to connect the Roku player to your Slingbox. You then have access to Netflix through the Roku wherever you have an internet connection.

Roku XD Streaming Player 1080p

I’ve owned my Roku for 10 months. I’m sorry that that one person had a bad experience. I, myself, have had great experience with their customer service. Wow, last month, when my wifi went out on my old player, the guy trouble shooted it (even though I had told him that I had already done every trouble shoot 19 times), and then he gave me the needed number to write down on the return label and mailed me a box to send it back to them for free. I didn’t have to collect a bunch of paperwork and (receipts and stuff) like most other companies require for a full refund. Just the player and the remote! My brand new Roku arrived within the week.
I have never regretted buying this player. Now it’s even $40.00 less than I originally paid for it. It’s a fricken steal if you ask me. Not only do you get your movies mailed to you from Netflix, but you get to watch, from the comfort of any room you decide to put the thing in, all the tv shows and kids shows and movies and free music and OMG the list goes on and on. Ren and Stimpy, 30 Rock, Lie to Me, Spongebob, on and on and on. The kids love it. When I’m bored at night, I get a huge list of choices to entertain me and I really couldn’t live without this cute little tiny machine. I HIGHLY recommend!!

Roku HD Streaming Player

We haven’t been able to get the HDMI to work on our projector, we’re going to try it on the TV, it should work there (will update if it doesn’t!) The picture is adequate without it, though.
The channels it has programmed are wonderful, an incredible mix of everything, movies, TV, music, sports, talk radio-it was worth it for the new websites we’ve been introduced to by the Roku.
Amazon is listed, and to get access to our video download library we just had to go to the amazon site (www.amazon.com/roku) and enter the code the Roku gave us, and our videos were instantly accessible!
I just finished joining netflix for the first time, just so I can access the streaming stuff on the Roku box. I usually watch streaming video at a favorite user-contributed video website, but I got a horrible virus there last week, and I think I’d better move to safer viewing habits. (It’s not one of the name sites you’d instantly know, it’s a little more off the beaten path. I should have known better!)
This is wonderful, I can’t wait until it has a link to Hulu (coming soon!) and I’m planning on buying more amazon video on demand, since this lets me watch it on the big screen instead of my computer monitor.
We son’t watch TV, per se, we got rid of our cable and I hate commercials with a passion, but we do follow certain shows online, so since our computer is responsible for most of our entertainment, this was just what we needed!
It was easy to set up, it only took a few minutes, even though my darling husband usually needs three trips to Lowes just to plug something into an outlet, he pretty much just hooked up a few wires and it was good to go. Navigation is easy, the picture is good (not great) even if you’re not using the HDMI hook up, and it looks like it’s loaded with enough viewing options to keep us watching for quite awhile!
So far, I highly recommend it.

Western Digital WD TV Live Plus HD Media Player

I purchased the WD Live Plus HD Media Player to watch movies from my Windows Home server. I got tired of all the DVD’s and no where to store them so I built a WHS from an old computer and ordered the WD Live plus. I ran a CAT5 cable to my LCD, hooked up the WD Live Plus and it automatically connected to my WHS. I was up and running in as little as 5 minutes streaming a video on the big screen. The 1st movie played flawlessly until I started to watch the 2nd movie. Towards the middle of the movie, WD Live started to freeze up. At first I thought it was my server so I rebooted the WHS and was back up and running again. Started to watch the movie and froze again. Now I’m getting very upset. Now I powered off/on the WD Live Plus and same issue. Some movies played with no issues and some movies just locked up. Now I’m getting upset with this media Player. I checked WD’s website and could not find any solution to the device freezing so I ordered the “Asus O! Player” unit to replace my piece of crap WD live Plus. I was already to mail it back and connect the Asus O! Player but something told me to check the WD support website one more time before I mail back WD Live Plus HD Media Player.

I found this on their site:

“When playing a movie over a Network location on a WD TV Live HD Media Player, the video may slow down

Problem:
When playing a high bitrate movie from a Network location (computer or NAS), after a period of time, the video may slow down and jitter.
Cause:
Samba (the method the WD TV Live uses to read a network location) cannot play back high bitrate movies.
Solution:
If this problem is encountered there are two solutions:
1. Try playing the content from the Media Server selection on the WD TV Live HD Media Player. This may require installation of a Media Server on your computer. Windows Media Player 11 has a built in Media Server. There are other alternatives such as TwonkyMedia, and TVersity which may also work for these videos.
2. Copy the high bitrate content to a USB drive, attach the USB drive to the WD TV Live HD Media Player and play the content from the local drive”.

I said Hmmm, “playing a high bitrate movie from a Network location”, well this was my problem. I went to TVersity and they explained how the software transcodes any video depending on your network speed and devices for proper streaming settings. So I installed the software on my WHS. During the installation it prompted to install the additional AC3 codec. So I installed it on my server. After installation completed, I configured TVersity to use my Video folder on the WHS and behold video was streaming to my LCD with no issues. Actually I believe the video quality is slighter better now than it was before.

So I’ll take that back about calling the WD player crap. Now I can say I’m very happy with WD Live Plus and will give it a 4 star rating now. TVersity is excellent software for streaming videos and will help any media player handle video streaming. Oh did it mention that it’s free! So go ahead and purchase the WD Live Plus HD Media Player and install TVersity on either your WHS or desktop/laptop and the 2 together they’ll make a perfect couple.

Enjoy.

Boxee Box by D-Link

Some perspective on me: I have never written a review but felt it was necessary in this case. I have been streaming video accross my network since the Buffalo Link Theater (7 yrs ago). I consider myself somewhat of a computer\electronic geek. I, like many others, have been excited about the release of the Boxee Box. I have tried several other similar alternatives (X-Box, LG Blu-ray player, WD…etc) and NOTHING even comes close to the experience I’ve had so far with the Boxee.

Pros
-Quality hardware
-compact
-qwerty keyboard on back of remote (brilliant!)
-User interface (needs to improvement though)
-Zippy fast getting around (except for downloading cover art for thumbnails)
-Lots of content providers (more to come for sure, Netflix, etc)
-Streams every file I have thrown at it (my movie collection is over 500 strong with different formats).
-there are many more

Cons
-As others have commented (the qwerty remote is unreadable for me without extreem light (come on, grey on black letters!)
-no options to customize the user interface more (advanced settings?)
-many apps load a webpage with the video in a small window with the “full screen” option small and difficult to brows to with the remote (needs much improvement).

If you want to look at your digital piture collection, play your digital videos\movies, listen to your music collection and play content from the web all through a great interface on your DH TV and through your Home Theater system, this box is a must for you. I promise, you will not be disappointed.

I am confident this box will only get better.

Sling Media Slingbox PRO-HD SB300-100

I heard about Slingbox from a friend and decided to give it a try. We have 2 DirectTv HD DVR recorders synced together and have the slingbox hooked to a 3rd DirectTv HD receiver so it has access to both DVR’s. We have used both the Droid app on my HTC and the PC desktop apps and both work great if you have a decent connection. My wife babysits for some friends everyday (they have wireless, but no TV) and uses the slingbox app from her laptop to watch shows when the baby is napping and loves it. The setup was easy and the instructions were clear and easy to follow. If you travel (I am on the road quite a bit) or have a need like my wife has where she babysits, it is worth the investment.

Logitech Revue Companion Box with Google TV and Keyboard Controller

While I think the price point should have been closer to $200, I am overall very satisfied with Google TV, using the Logitech Revue box and keyboard. I am an Android phone user as well and the OS used in Google TV is very similar. The set up was easy and intuitive. One note: You do need an HDTV, high-speed internet (wired or wireless), and a cable box with HDMI cable inputs to take full advantage of all Google TV has to offer. And while the box comes with 1 HDMI cable, you will need at least one more. I am not completely sold on using the keyboard to control the DVR, although it is possible. There is a free Harmony app for Android phones (iPhone coming soon, I believe) that is an added bonus.

I won’t be getting rid of my laptop, but will be using it a whole lot less! If you use the internet for games, Facebook, searching, shopping, photos, videos, etc., then having quick access to that using the full Google Chrome browser while in your living room, is a no-brainer. I enjoy the integration of my DVR content with internet searching, if I search for “Desperate Housewives” it shows me not only my recordings on the DVR, upcoming shows in the guide, as well as related websites and other references. Neat. I like the Pandora application so I can listen to music through my stereo, surf the web, and watch the local news in picture-in-picture, all at once.

I look forward to having more application options (Google is aggressively pursuing developers to create apps for Google TV like they do for the Android Marketplace). I think a very basic app they should have included out of the box is Weather.com to quickly pull up the local forecast. When an app market is available and as other enhancements are added (updates over the internet), this will soon become the perfect product, until then, it’s very fun and I’m glad to have it!

Sling Media Slingbox SOLO

I have heard the Slingbox advertised for several years and have often wondered what the appeal was–with other technologies like tv tuner cards and portable media players, I never saw the point. Recently, however, I purchased a 3.5G smartphone and found there was Slingbox client software available for it. The idea of watching television anywhere from my phone [with an unlimited data plan] intrigued me enough to make the relatively minor investment in a Slingbox.

After trying it, I can only say it is incredible. Having a device in my pocket that can receive television is amazing, and the fact that it is not some choppy over-the-air signal but a beautifully clear signal with access to an entire cable tv feed, on demand services, program guides, and recorded programs is mind-blowing. Even from a laptop or other client, having access to all the channels and features you normally have in your living room, no matter where you are, makes the Slingbox much more powerful than a simple tuner card. For those so motivated, it is also possible to spy on what your kids are watching when you’re not home (or annoy them by changing the channel).

I purchased the Slingbox SOLO because of the built-in high-definition component input. Because I was eager to set-up the box, I initially connected it with a simple composite connection–later, I dug-out an RGB component cable and connected it that way instead, but found with the lower resolution and compression artifacts introduced by the Slingbox I didn’t notice a significant difference and ended-up switching back just to eliminate some cables and to take advantage of the cable-box’s ability to convert everything to the same aspect ratio to avoid having to switch the client. The video quality looks perfect on the cell phone [although I don't think anything less than 3.5G service would work well] but from a PC or laptop, the picture quality is similar to a high quality standard-definition tuner card, even when viewing a high-definition source.

Setting-up the Slingbox was absolutely simple and almost completely automatic; it does require a pc on the same network. The box was detected and video was working as soon as set-up started. A huge variety of equipment is supported, with pc client software displaying a remote that looks almost identical to the actual equipment remote. I did not have to make any adjustments to the box’s IR signal timing to the cable box and it has worked flawlessly without ever missing a command.

Apple TV MC572LL/A (2010)

I was looking forward to this product since it was announced early last month. I’m glad I pulled the trigger and bought it when it became available. For $99 it provides most of the functionality I was paying microsoft $50 a year for. I’ve become less dependent on the XBOX as a game machine, and more as a Netflix/Media Streamer since my family has grown, and not having to pay for XBOX Live was one of the driving reasons behind this purchase. The reason I say “most of the functionality” is due to it not having the codec support that the XBOX360 comes with out of the box. I’ve had no issues with playback of mp4 or m4v files, and I’m happy with that, but it lacks support for WMV and AVI (as far as I’ve experienced). This isn’t exactly a deal breaker since I can re-encode any content to supported codecs with handbrake and use iTunes to take care of my video library.

The UI is slick, the setup was somewhat easy (but would have been easier with keyboard support) and the ability to control music from my laptop and desktop is fantastic (through iTunes via the currently limited “airplay” functionality).

I’m really happy with the YouTube, Flickr and Netflix support. They are by far the best I’ve seen from a media center, but I can see certain aspects being a pain if you use the included remote (there is no keyboard to speak of, and scrolling through letter to spell things out is a hassle). The remote app on iOS devices more than makes up for the lack of a keyboard since it provides added functionality (such as alpha numeric input, quick seeking and library browsing). I look forward to video support with airplay and will update this review once I get to play with that (in November?).

One last thing – it’s quiet. The thing barely makes a peep.

LG AN-WL100W Wireless Media Kit

This product is great! The picture quality is fantastic! Colors are stunning and the connection is rock solid!

I am streaming wirelessly full HD 1080p 60Hz from my Blu -Ray player to my new 55 inch LG LED TV and the quality is just as good as a top-of-the-line HDMI cable. In fact, I tested it just to be sure, and I could not tell the difference between HDMI and wireless. I can have all my A/V devices hidden in my media center cabinet and wirelessly send the video to the TV across the room. The receiver unit is small and hidden behind the TV, and it gets its power from the TV. So my set up is now clean of unnecessary cables and picture quality is superb.

Great Product! – highly recommended!

ASUS WiCast EW2000 Wireless HD Video Transmitter and Receiver

I’m looking for wireless HD solutions for a while to meet my needs : 1. to work with my DirectTV receiver DIRECTV Plus® HR24 High Definition MPEG-4 DVR (HR-24-500) HD DVRand wirelessly transmit the HD A/V signals to my 2nd TV in other room; 2. to wirelessly send signals to the projector from my laptop with HDMI output. Recently I found Amimon’s WHDI solution is the most latest and advanced technology and here comes two products using this technology which can fulfill my requests and I got both of them. They are ASUS WiCast EW2000 Wireless HD Video Transmitter and Receiver (from my laptlop) and brite-View Air SyncHD New Arrival! brite-View “Air SyncHD” (BV-2322) Wireless 1080p HD Video/ Audio Transmission Kit(for my DirectTV receiver) and I’m satisfied with both of them so far though with limited time of ownership.

Asus WiCast is pretty straight forward to set up, I only need to connect the transmitter to my laptop and connect the receiver to the projector and it’s done, it wirelessly streams everything on my laptop screen to the projector and then on the projection screen. The quality of signals and transmission are great (but probably it’s designed for in-room usage only so there’s limitation of the distance and the penetration. I tried to connect it to the DirecTV receiver but the signal got choppy after the wall in between even it’s within 30 feet).

brite-View Air SyncHD works just like it should be, I connect the transmitter to DirectTV receiver (and connect the HDMI output of the transmitter with HDTV to pass through the signals) and also connect the receiver to my 2nd TV in other room within 30 feet. The quality of HD A/V signals and transmission are great too, only it takes a bit longer to synchronize. The penetration is great without any delay and I can control the DirectTV receiver in other room with its IR sensor/extender.

I really like these two products and the WHDI technology really works great. I review both of them is to provide information and reference for those who are also looking for wireless HD solutions and you can decide which one is most suitable for your situation. Hopefully it helps!

Viewsonic NexTV VMP75 1080p Network Media Player

I got this primarily for Netflix. The first unit I received had a bad HDMI port on it. I had to turn it upside down and wiggle the cable in order for any picture to show on my TV. I held it down in this position to see how it worked. Everything looked OK except the Netflix had no sound. Well this unit went back the next day.

The second unit came and the HDMI port was OK on this one. I tried Netflix and NO SOUND AGAIN!!! This time I reported the issue to Viewsonic and got a response back quickly. Naturally they wanted me to validate I knew how to hook it up. I responded that the sound was fine with playing network files and was fine on YouTube…just Neflix. The response was a thank you and they said a possible fix is in the works.

Well…yesterday (Sept 7th) I checked for firmware updated and there was one!!! I downloaded and installed and now Netflix works. I like this box now.

Reminder to all…download the latest firmware before trying anything. They are adding fixes all the time now that people are reporting problems.

***Edit Nov 25****
There is another new firmware update. It fixed my HDMI sync issues, allows zip codes for location, seems to work better with network shares, seems twice as fast responding to commands, and loads during power up faster. It is getting there..just wish all this was done before they launched. Right now I am glad I bought this.

Popcorn Hour A-200 Networked Media Tank (Black)

I believe the a-200 is a very good product. It will pretty much play any file format you throw at it. It will play back both dvd and bluray isos as well as the popular mkv or m2ts format which products like the playstation 3 and xbox 360 will not do. Regarding cons I would first like to point out that I DID NOT notice the loud fan noise everyone here is pointing out. But I did notice that the product does get very hot. The trick is to shut down the system by holding down the power button. Otherwise, by simply hitting the power button once the unit stays in stand by while continually powering the unit which is somewhat of an annoyance. To avoid the heat issue I avoid using an internal hard drive and stick to an external hard drive. I initially installed an internal hard drive but found the device to get very hot. This may be a problem for some as it requires a internal hd to run certain applications. Personally I don’t use them. Whether the heat caused by the internal hd would be a problem or not is a question but its not a risk I’m willing to take. I will say that the design of the case is a bit cheap. The biggest thing that concerns me is that the heat vents are on the bottom of the unit and as any average joe knows, heat rises! For anyone wondering there are custom metal cases out there that are of much better quality. The interface is clunking but has an awesome streamlined alternative known as Yet Another Movie Jukebox (YAMJ). YAMJ is very good and is makes browsing collections a snap. As far as the big kicker that got be to purchase the a-200 over products like the wd-live plus is the audio passthrough. The a-200 will bitstream high def audio formats to a receiver such as DTS MA HD audio and Dolby TruHD through backup files. Last I read the WD Live was able to bitstream TruHD but not sure on that. Western Digitial says it will never bitstream DTS MA. Other complaints I have is that the documentation is lousy. When you buy this expect to do a lot of internet searching for usuage. But after a little reading the device is very easy to use. I will say that a plus is that firmware updates are a huge step forward but not always the quickest to come out. But no product is perfect. Overall it has been a great purchase for my families needs.

Channel Master CM-7000PAL Digital Video Recorder Black

Since other reviewers have already covered most of the capabilities of this box, I am going to focus my review on the actual setup and use of this DVR.

Intended use:
I used to have a Channel Master CM-7000 (rated best DTA by consumer reports) so I can watch free broadcast programming. When I want to record a program, I had to run the CM-7000 to a DVD recorder that I had, recording to a RAM disk which effected acted like a very small hard disk (2-4 hours of recording). Well, I tried to record one of the World Cup matches, and the replay quality just wasn’t that great, so I decided to run to the store and get this DVR. This DVR replaces 2 devices (the original CM-7000 DTA and the DVD recorder), thus saving space in my entertainment center, plugs, reduces cabling, etc.

Setup:
Physical setup was a snap (I used component cable since the HDMI port on my TV was already used for the Blu-Ray player). Upon powering up the DVR, it went immediately to the setup wizard, which walks you thru setting up the date, timezone, and zip code (for the program guide). It also scans for all the channels available. I did make a mistake in setting up my timezone, so the DVR popped up a screen suggesting the correct setting on timezone, which I accepted — what a nice feature or I might have been missing the shows I really wanted recorded because of the wrong time.

Guide:
The channel guide is an improvement. You can see upcoming programs for several channels at the same time and for up to 1 week. Note that you can set the text size for the channel guide to make it easier on the eyes or to squeeze more information onto the screen.

TV Watching:
Watching TV on this is great. The CM-7000 DTA that I previously used was only standard definition as required by the government coupon program. With this DVR you get high definition video…what a difference! As other reviewers pointed out, you can watch TV (any channel you want) while the DVR is recording another channel.

DVR functions:
Setting up a recording can’t be easier. Without even reading the user manual, I was able to go to the program guide, select a program I wanted recorded, and I am done. This box will actually record 2 programs at the same time, which is an absolute necessity. For example, I was able to record 2 sports programs (can’t watch them because I had to go to work) that were broadcast at the same time. I am looking forward to when I get off work and can go back to watch each game, fast forward through the commercials, half time, etc. Contrary to people who have cable or satellite and claim that there are no good shows on broadcast TV, I think there are good programming to watch off the free broadcast stations. The issue is more with when the programming are broadcast and when you have time to watch. A DVR solves this problem. In fact, with the big capacity hard drive included, I intend to record a number of good family/children’s videos so that when our children have their friends over, instead of popping in a DVD/Blu-ray disc, I can just play from what’s been recorded.

Another feature of the DVR is called “time-shifting”. This may sound like a fancy word, but so easy to use. While you are watching TV, just press “pause” if you have to answer the phone, doorbell, run to the stove because food is burning, etc. When you are ready to resume, just press “play” and the program you were watching continues right from the spot where you had paused it, so you miss nothing. Then when you get to a commercial, just fast forward it!

Conclusion:
This DVR has added to my TV viewing features such as high definition video, ability to record multiple programs “simultaneously” to later watch at a more convenient hour, capability of time-shifting, and also serve as a video vault. Until getting this DVR, we were mostly watching DVDs and internet video on our TV. Now watching live (actually ‘recorded’) TV is fun again.

Popcorn Hour C-200 Networked Media Tank (Black)

I bought my PCH from Amazon 5 months ago. Things were a little rough at first. The firmware back then couldn’t reliably play BD rips from SMB shares, and I had to add a hard drive to the PCH for local playback. Also, the PCH had to be rebooted a couple times a week. With the new firmware that came out 2-3 months ago, life is really good and reboots have become rare. The PCH can play BD rips in ISO or directory dump format very reliably, and my aging receiver is able to pick up the DD5.1 or DTS5.1 core out of the DTS-HD or D-TrueHD stream 99% of the time. I also tested BD dumps in an MKV container (no re-encoding) and that works just as well.

Now, this is a product for the tech-savvy. If the paragraph above didn’t make sense to you, do not buy this product. You’ll get frustrated like the other reviewers who gave this wonder 1-2 stars.

The PCH is most unique in its BD playback abilities, but it can also play pretty much every video format out there. And the hardware is equally versatile. You can open the case with ONE screw, and it’s a PC inside. You can add SATA drives, a mini-PCI wifi card, or even transplant the entire thing to another case and PSU if you’re so inclined.

If you use an IR universal remote (and the target demographic for this product is the Logitech Harmony owner), don’t forget to add the IR receiver to your order. The device only ships with an RF remote.

Hava Platinum HD Tv Placeshifting Dvr Pvr

Great quality it sends tv signal over the internet. So in a house or office environment all the computers in the network can watch the same channel. On the computer you install software that allows you to watch and even record shows. This one is HD and the quality is really good. You can tell it is a mpg though. You’ll see occasionally those bits and squares that come with that. Even when you watch full screen it looks great though. The faster the movement the more pixelated it looks especially on the fast moving letters but football looks good and so does tennis. There is at least a 3 second delay to what you are watching so you can’t use it to play video games.

TiVo TCD652160 HD Digital Video Recorder

First, I need to inform you that all of my home television programming comes from an antenna on my roof. No cable or satellite whatsoever.

When the Series 3 debuted earlier this year, I contacted TiVo about recording two HD channels at the same time from an antenna and was told that would not occur. That one would be in HD and the other in standard definition. That, along with the price made me pass on this unit.

When the TiVo HD came along, I contacted TiVo again and was told by one technician that it WOULD record two HD shows and by another that it would not. With the cheaper price, I decided to give it a try and am glad that I did so.

I am happy to report that this unit will definitely record two high definition programs at the same time from an antenna. No splitters, amplifiers or other hardware. Just plug it into the Antenna connector on back of the box.

Setup and activation was easy. The most difficult part was figuring out the maze of cables behind my TV and Stereo amplifier, but that is hardly TiVo’s fault. I already had it set up when I called to activate the box. When I got off the phone and turned it on, it was ready to download the Guide. Very hassle free.

The remote, while nothing fancy, has a good layout of buttons and is programmable so that it will turn my TV on and allow me to change its inputs while the volume and mute buttons control my amplifier. About the only other thing I need for it to do is actually turn the stereo on. But getting up once to turn on the stereo is a small price to pay for being able to record HD programs and pause live TV.

On some forums users have been reporting macro-blocking and pixelation when using some cable cards. I have no experience with that, but can report that I have not seen this problem using an antenna. In fact, I see no difference at all in the quality of the broadcast than I did when the signal went directly to my television.

After a bit over a week’s use I have no complaints at all with the product or service and would recommend it to othe

Western Digital WD TV HD Media Player WDBABF0000NBK-NESN

I bought this box a couple of months ago at a big box store. I got a great price on it. At the time I didn’t know that it wouldn’t play DVD images that you needed the PLUS model. This week Western Digital changed the firmware to support DVD images off of a Windows 7 computer. I can now play both recorded TV DVR-MS files as well as DVD images from non-copyright protected media. I had to tweak Windows 7 to set up Network Share by changing the registry, but this is not a WDTV Live problem but a Microsoft issue. It also plays my ripped CDs off my computer. I have had no problems with this box at all and for the price believe its remarkable what it does. In fact I don’t think you need to spend anymore money to buy anything else. As for it not doing Netflix (you need the PLUS), my Blu-ray player does Netflix. The only thing is that it won’t play the closed captions off of the DVR-MS files, but no ones product does this. I think general industry support for closed captioning is incredibly weak and reflects a general poor attitude about the whole thing. As of now even HULU does not make its material available with closed captioning.

Logitech Mini Controller for Logitech Revue and Google TV

Product Description

From the Manufacturer

The ideal companion for Google TV…and your coffee table. Designed specifically for Google TV systems, including Logitech Revue, this thumb-sized keyboard with dual-mode touch pad and entertainment system remote gives you endless entertainment at your fingertips.

Type, Search and Navigate Fast
Full-featured and space-saving, the Logitech Mini Controller lets you quickly enter text to search for what to watch, navigate the Web with ease, and control your entertainment—without a mouse or remote.

  • Enter text easily with the thumb-sized QWERTY keyboard
  • Play, Pause, Rewind and Fast Forward with entertainment-system controls
  • Navigate sites and scroll vertically with dual-mode touch pad—no mouse needed
  • Find the right keys even in the dark with illuminated keys
  • Power up and charge less often with rechargeable Li-ion battery
  • Advanced 2.4 GHz wireless with Logitech Unifying technology provides a reliable, long-range connection that lets you to connect up to six compatible wireless devices.

Iomega 1TB ScreenPlay Director HD Multimedia Player (34650)

Am someone who hates to clutter up my workspace and home. This 1 terabyte of a multimedia device does many things which I rarely expected. To begin with, I put in all my photos and checked the slide shows, then loaded some movies and checked if my TV could actually play them, then I used the device exclusively for backup and heavy storing purposes. Within a couple of days of testing it back and forth through these claims I have found that it lives upto them. My skepticism has dissolved!

Logitech Keyboard Controller for Logitech Revue and Google TV

Update: Right Click works as long as you hold the FN button. Also Windows 7 interprets the search key as the Windows key. The Play/Stop/Pause key as far as I can tell does the same thing regardless of FN. None of the FN number keys at the top are recongnized either. The back button next to the arrow keys doesn’t work. But again without setpoint options I didn’t expect them to work. Here’s to hopeing logitech will provide that functionality. It is still a great product for an htpc and would definitly recommend it. 5 stars as soon as setpoint works.

Works great with Windows 7 and XBMC. Not sure if the live version of XBMC has drivers for it though. Touchpad works as expected however I cant find the right click =/ As of yet the logitech software doesn’t have options to customize the keys but i’m sure that will come. The guide button brings up the windows media center.

Vulkano 010410VK All-In-One 8 GB Media Placeshifter Black

This product does everything that Slingbox does but better (minus the slightly sluggish remote interface). Slingbox doesn’t come anywhere near this device in terms of real life stream quality. I’ve compared it to a Slingbox Pro HD and it puts it to shame. I do understand the complaints pertaining to the on-screen menu,TV interface, and dvr problems. However, Slingbox doesn’t even offer ANY of these features. Additionally, Monsoon is putting out updates at a rapid rate to remedy all of these problems. In a few months this product will be an absolute wonder. Even if they decide to stop supporting the Vulkano today and get rid of the DVR etc functions, it will still be better than anything Slingbox will have in the near future.

AVerMedia MTVUHDDVR Avertv HD USB Digital Video Recorder

I primarily bought this to record video games while playing them. I did some recordings and used the video editing software. The quality (720p) is nice and the video was as I had expected and hoped. The interface is simple and easy to use. It is great for what I want it for. Now onto the flaws that I have encountered. First off – the most annoying one which may be a problem with my box in particular. The component connection coming in from the video game source often loses one of the color connections making it look awful. Unfortunately it is captured this way and it simply takes me just slightly moving the box or touching the cables to fix (I have tried different sets of cables). Second problem for you gamers out there. The software seems to have a problem adjusting when the source adjusts resolutions. Example is on the PS3 – I am on the XMB screen prior to loading the game, but once the game loads it adjusts the resolution. At this point the capture screen goes gray and doesn’t seem to pick up the source video anymore. If you started your recording prior to starting the game, you would be recording gray the rest of the way. The last problem I had seems to be a software issue, but I can’t be sure. I plugged an HDMI cable in for output. NOTE: The HDMI cable is NOT for passthrough to be used during recordings. It is only for media playback. I cannot however playback any media other than what I have recorded directly through the box. Granted it looked great on my 55″ 1080p 120Hz LCD, but I could not playback any other video files even though it is supposed to be able to. Everytime I hit the button to output to HDMI, I get a gray screen. Despite submitting a support ticket going on a month ago, they continuously tell me that they are researching the problem. This was a big selling point for me and a bit of a disappointment. Final thoughts – it is solidly built and seems to be well priced for what it does compared to competition. The processing of the capture on the box takes the load off of the PC while allowing you to store and edit directly on the computer. I do recommend the product for it’s ease of use and quality per price, but want to warn gamers of the above issues that I encountered. Good luck!

Iomega ScreenPlay TV Link Director Edition – 34429

Since my collection includes a wide range of media formats, I was on the lookout for something that would be compatible with most of them at least if not all..but the director edition truly streams all formats including pmg, jpeg, flv and avi. The earlier device I had wasnt compatible with most of these formats and I had to use a formatter. This is a one-stop sol for all file types. Although it claimed that it supports most AV connection, I did have my own doubts but I can now see that it lives up to that promise too! High resolution and MAC OS extended hub makes it a commendable digtlmedia player/receiver. Wide access to all data in the network at one go – this is one more reason why I feel it is a nice buy.

Western Digital WD TV Mini Media Player WDBAAL0000NBK-NESN

Pros:
-Easy to use for people just want to play and enjoy contents. It is pretty much as easy to use as your TV. This is designed for general consumers than the techies.
-Play SD movies and RMVB materials really well. It will play the dvd menu and the entire movie if you select the VIDEO_TS folder. No need to manually play each VOB file and no need to create iso file either. I have not encountered any issues playing movies or RMVB files since I received this player two months ago. Subtitles and language tracks all played properly. This is also the only WD player that will play RMVB.
-Good video quality. When connected to my 40″ LCD TV, video quality from 1080i output seems to be very good for both movie and RMVB materials. I do not see perceivable differences between the mini and my oppo dvd player in daily viewing. Quality from composite output is fine for what you would expect of such signal.
-Energy efficient. Consumes 5 watts when powering an external usb drive. 4 watts if a flash drive is used. It also cuts power to the attached player-powered usb drive when off. This player does not get hot even while powering a usb drive.

Cons:
-Video cables come with the player are short. You have to position the player close to TV and that limits the placement flexibility. These cables are proprietary design so you can not easily swap them out with regualr cables.
-No support for 1080p output. No hdmi so you have to run video and audio cables separately to your tv/receives.

This player has served me well for what I seeks. With the current going price this may be a good choice for people looking to enjoy their SD collections now and wait for better HD players and contents couple years down the road.

Seagate FreeAgent Theater HD Media Player STCEA101-RK

The Seagate FreeAgent Theater is now cheap because it is old technology and it shows. It is not a bad player for old-school video formats, but the picture is composite like an early years DVD Player, not HD. The firmware is slow, ugly, and buggy. The newer Theater+ model has HDMI, networking, and HD picture, but it is not worth the much higher $ investment (currently over $200 with hard drive and dock). The new firmware is still a D+ at best. I recommend using a netbook with an HDMI port as a media server instead. A netbook will work flawlessly as a media server and you will enjoy all the other PC fuctions it can do for you.

Noah Company MediaGate MG-M2TVDW Network Wireless N HD Media Player

I wanted to try one of these to watch YouTube videos or other downloads on my main television. I was worried I was making a mistake but this was a wonderful purchase. It was simple to install since you just plug it in. It can use an HDMI cable or RCA cables. It plays almost every format of video I can find and it is getting rare to find players that handle mkv and mov files. This one does and handles subtitles well. I could not be happier with it….until it broke.

During playback, it suddenly just stopped working about 6 months after I bought it. It was outside of the return time with Amazon and I could not find any information about warranty or methods to contact the manufacturer. I contacted Amazon in the hopes they could give me contact numbers or something but the first response from Amazon customer service was that a new one was on the way to me and I should just pack up the old one. WOW. So not only do I love the media player, I absolutely love that I bought it from Amazon and really appreciate their customer service.

My unit broke for an unknown reason. It might have been made on a bad day, it might have over heated, or who knows why but I still really like this player. When I read a review, the good things are nice to know but the bad things are even more important so I can know what I am accepting. I will be listing some bad things but please bear in mind that those bad things do not lower my opinion of the player at all.

PROS
Easy to set up and use.
Plays most types of video and handles subtitles well.
Can be wireless with USB wireless dongle.
2 USB inputs and an SD card reader.
Good with music and pictures.
Amazon customer service is superior
Remembers where you are in playback of video files usually

CONS
Menus could be better
Copying files between USB devices can be clunky
Inability to move rapidly through a movie to get a specific scene other than FF
Slow “warm up” time (when you turn it on, it takes a few seconds before something comes up as opposed to just instant on).

Overall, I think this is a wonderful player and I think buying it from Amazon would be the best move.

Roku SD Player

I previously had Netflix but I canceled it because I was tired of waiting for DVDs in the mail, I didn’t think that I was really getting my full money’s worth and could probably get a better deal renting from RedBox locations. But, when the folks at Netflix mentioned that there are “Netflix-ready” devices out there that could allow you to play their “instant” movies, I was intrigued. I have an older Mac laptop at home and I wasn’t able to play their instant movies on it (only Intel-based Macs can do that). And, I was never really happy with watching TV shows or movies from other networks like ABC or NBC on that computer anyway. The lag-time is too long and the images were choppy and usually inconsistent. It just feels weird to watch stuff on computers. Besides, my legs would get too hot from the laptop sitting on them. So, deciding to give these Netflix-ready devices a try, I re-upped my Netflix subscription for $8.99/month (the cheapest plan for UNLIMITED instant viewing) and ordered this Roku box thing (By the way, Roku is the word for “six” in Japanese–whatever that means. Perhaps because the box has six sides? Who knows?) Anyway, I remember waiting anxiously everyday until it arrived at my doorstep. (You should know that my wife thought I was crazy for spending money on something that I had no idea how worked). But man, oh man! She got quiet and got to smiling really quick! Was it ever worth the wait!!! Please understand, I do not work for Netflix or Roku, so get that out of your head. I teach middle school. I am just a regular Joe that loves to watch movies. This thing is like having a several thousand item DVD collection right inside your living room. The quality of movies is amazing (like DVDs – except there’s no subtitle option, which I like reading sometimes) and there is no delay in the image at all (at least on my directly-connected AT&T DSL service). What an amazing new invention! If you wait to get this thing, you will be missing out on a major addition to modern technology that I know will be as common as the remote control in a few short years. I love it!!! And, when you add movies or TV shows to your Netflix instant queue, you don’t have to watch them one at a time. You can cycle through your choices, just like spinning a wheel–a poster image of the movie or program appears on-screen. All you have to do is stop on the choice that interests you at any given time. When you pause or stop watching, you can resume viewing at the exact same spot whenever you want. Dude, I am rushing through this review just so that I can get back to watching my movies again. Many other companies and services are being added as time goes by thanks to Roku’s new “Channels” feature. Through your TV, you can view Facebook photos, listen to Pandora internet radio, view or listen to your favorite Podcasts, and sooooo many other things. So, don’t be left out!!! Roku seriously rocks!

FINAL NOTE: (For those of you who were concerned) As of 12/4/09, Amazon’s Video On-Demand is working on this Roku model as well!

NETGEAR EVA9150 Digital Entertainer Elite

This is a pretty cool unit. Setup is a breeze and it even came with a DVI cable to hook up to my TV. It also has RCA cables. I have almost 1TB of movies in various formats(.avi .wmv .mpg) and it plays every one. Sometimes I cannot use the skip function if it doesn’t fully support the file but it still always plays it. Transferring the files over was a bit harder. It was going to take 7 days to copy 1TB of files over from my server to the hard drive on the unit that I put in it. I even tried a direct cable and it was just as slow. I don’t think it does any conversion but it is very slow. When you add a new hard drive in this unit, it formats it with Linux. When I put the drive from the Digital Entertainer in my Windows server it wanted to format the drive. I had to boot into a Linux OS and then I was able to copy the files over very quickly. The software that comes with the unit is pretty nice also. It lets you tag each movie file with information from the Internet Movie Database. It even displays a box cover. This unit also stores and plays music as well as Youtube videos streaming from the Internet. It will connect to your network by wireless or wired, or it can simply be a standalone unit. The only reason I didn’t give it 5 stars was because of the search feature in the unit. When I want to search for example, the movie “Zoolander”, I input the letter “Z” from the remote and instead of filtering every movie that starts with “Z”, it lists every movie with the letter “Z” in it like this…

American Zombie
Brazil
Crazy People
Dazed and Confused
Hot Fuzz
Zoolander

It’s kind of a convoluted search in my opinion. Other than that, the Digital Entertainer is a top notch unit. It has a very user friendly interface with a nice remote control. It also has 2 USB ports and it can play media directly off of those or the media can be transferred to the hard drive. Netgear did a good job on the Digital Entertainer Elite!

Sling Media Slingbox Classic

Ground-breaking technology. This device allows me to watch my Chicago cable TV service while in Paris. It converts the TV signal into an internet transmission. The image is only about 4 x 3 inches in size on my higher density 1680 by 1050 notebook screen but looks very clean and highly viewable. Sound quality is excellent. Transfer rates ranges from 400 to 700 kbps.

Another feature of this product is that it can be used as an internet based remote control. I have one in my mother’s senior home apartment. It enables me to view her apartment, view her electronics, and send remote control signals to her electronics whenever she gets stumped. I’m sure there are many other ways to apply this unique technology.

SlingMedia is an exceptional company. The initial release of this product brought rave reviews — uncommon for release 1.0. They did not rest. Since then, they have released new versions which further enhanced the SlingBox.

I’m impressed with the concept, the technology, the product, the execution, the installation, the enhancements, the updatability, the reliability, the quality of the support, the people from top to bottom. The staff members are very active on avsforum.com. Great attitudes.

While Tivo enabled me to watch TV when I wanted, this product allows me to watch TV where it was otherwise impossible.

This may be the best consumer electronic product of 2005.

Update 15 Nov 2005: Wow, it happened! Time Magazine named it one of the “Best Inventions 2005″ in November 21st 2005 issue.

Update 9 Jan 2006: Won PCMag 2005 Technical Excellence Award\

I’m in no way affilated with SlingMedia. I’m just a SlingBox fan boy.

Moxi 3-Tuner 500GB HD Digital Recorder

While the Moxi isn’t perfect, you can certainly rank it as the top device in it’s class. I’ve used Tivo, Replay TV, the DirecTV DVR, Windows Media Center, as well as the Comcast Motorola DVR. The Moxi is the best device available.

I currently own a 3-tuner Moxi with 1 additional Moxi Mate. I’m going to start with the Moxi mate to get it out of the way. Some reviews are saying it’s slow – and this is partially true. The mate IS slower than the main Moxi unit – but it’s not unbearable, or even a big deal. For the most part, I didn’t really notice it. The interface is still fast, there is just a 2 – 3 second time before a picture shows up when switching channels. This is because the Mate has to buffer the channel from the main moxi unit over your network. It’s really, really not a big deal. The picture on the Mate is perfect, and being able to pause a show in one room and resume it in another is seamless and simple to do.

Where is the huge benefit to the Moxi mate? You don’t have to buy another $500 DVR, you don’t have to pay another subscription fee to Tivo or your cable company, and it works seamless with the main unit. As a bundle, the Mate only costs $199 – substantial savings over another Tivo/Cable DVR.

The main Moxi 3-tuner unit is fast, sleak, and loaded with features in a surprisingly easy to use interface. Setting it up was a breeze, Comcast came out and put a card in, and the Moxi paired up and had all my channels with no fuss. The Moxi only requires 1 single M-Card from your provider, and Comcast gives you the first card for FREE. Which means no cable card rental fee. So I have 3 tuners along with a Moxi mate, giving me 2 TV’s running on DVR with zero subscription fees and zero cable card or any rental fees. Brilliant!

I won’t go into much detail about the interface itself, there are plenty of videos on Moxi’s site that show you this. The interface is VERY easy to use, and it looks great. The first thing I did was go through my channel lineup and disable all the channels I don’t watch – foreign language, music, and pay-per-view. Now when channel surfing the guide, it’s just the channels I like. Moxi also keeps a favorites list of the channels and shows I watch most often, very cool. The recording works wonderfully and scheduling is great too.

You can manage your DVR on Moxi’s website. I was on my laptop and was inputting shows I wanted to watch on their website and setting up new series recordings. My selections instantly showed up on my Moxi DVR. Works as it should, and again, simple.

The biggest seller for me was the PlayOn software along with Moxi’s ability to interact with my computer. For the Moxi to connect to my computer required literally ZERO setup. I have a Windows 7 machine. This was important for me, as I download a lot of movies, videos, etc. In the Moxi, I simply select my computer, and voila, all my content readily available. It plays through the Moxi with perfect clarity and control.

PlayOn is FREE with Moxi, they give you a full, free license when you purchase a Moxi box. This software also runs on your computer, and allows you to connect to Netflix, Youtube, Hulu, Pandora, Amazon, etc. This means you can cancel your HBO and expensive premium channels and fire up a cheap Netflix account. For $8 that Netflix charges, I get tons and tons of movies I can stream instantly, plus DVD’s in the mail, for less than an HBO subscription from the Cable company. And the Moxi handles all this perfectly and simply. I have also used YouTube and Hulu extensively, both work great too.

Overall, this box is as good as it gets. By cancelling my DVR rental fees from Comcast, I’m saving $30/mo on that alone. With the new content that Moxi has opened me up to, I cancelled the digital preferred package as well. Overally the Moxi is saving me roughly $40/mo and providing me content and a DVR experience that far surpasses anything else available. I’m even selling my HTPC as I just don’t need it anymore now that Moxi integrates so well with my network for streaming content.

The price for the Moxi bundle may seem high, but the unit itself is the same price as a Tivo, and no additional subscription fees for which Tivo charges $400 for lifetime per unit. The price of the Moxi ultimately becomes quite a steal when you look at the cost of ownership over 2 or 3 years.

I’ve used all the DVR’s you can imagine over the last 10 years, and I simply couldn’t be happier with my Moxi purchase.

NETGEAR Digital Entertainer Express (EVA9100)

Fantasic product. I used to own the predecessor to the 9100 – the EVA8000. This one is far superior in terms of performance. The EVA9100 must have more memory available as the performance when switching between videos, buffering, and altogether playing content is fantastic. Netgear got smart by not requiring us to purchase a wireless-ready unit. The 9100 is now $100 cheaper than the when I got the 8000 because of this, and you can still add USB wireless if you want. Interface is the same, but very functional. However, this unit now scans network shares for updated content on-the-fly, rather than requiring you to do a scan – very nice. Plays virtually any file you throw at it – awesome. Found that audio on some media files wasn’t coming through the HDMI interface though. This was problematic until I realized that I could (in addition to the HDMI cable) attach a coaxial (or optical) audio output from the EVA9100 to my receiver and now virtually all audio plays. Definitely a fantastic purchase!

ZyXEL NSA210 Digital Media Storage Server

I purchased this item on a leap of faith, as I couldn’t find a review anywhere. I think I may be the first on the entire www. It is a great little device. Granted most people looking for a true backup solution will shun this for only having the single bay, but for my simple needs, I was fine with a single bay. I just can’t bring myself to make a backup of a backup. I figure I’m ahead of the game for having the one backup. The unit itself is metal, and very easy to load the HDD (I am using a spare 750 gb I had laying around). Installation of the software was also very easy. I can mount various sub-folders within the server, which will make network backups a snap. The options for how you set this thing are limitless, and it really is not that difficult. I haven’t tried to stream any media yet, but based on what I have seen thus far, I ‘d say it will be great. If you are looking for a media server/NAS this can’t be beat.

Netgear Roku XD Player NTV250

My ultimate goal is to rid myself of subscription cable television! My cable provider does not offer a la carte pricing, therefore I must subscribe to literally 100’s of channels to get the roughly four HD channels I want (at almost $100 a month). So I decided to give this a try and see if it fits my needs, and so far, so good.

On my connection(s):
1. Via Ethernet to home router.
2. Via HDMI to 1080p LCD.

Setup took less than ten minutes to complete, including hardware registration with ROKU and Amazon Video on Demand. I was pleasantly surprised how fast the player found my account at Amazon and all of my prior video purchases were waiting to be viewed on the player. The remote is simple with only twelve buttons.

On viewing content, the player buffered very quickly and began playing almost immediately. There is quite a bit of free content that can be viewed as well, and was easy to get via the on-screen guide, etc. Will end this review with… I’ve only had it for a few days, so my opinion could change, and if it does, I will update this review.

Update 12/15/2010

Many reviewers have experienced issues connecting wirelessly, so I decided to try it for myself!

My wireless connection and settings:
Router: Netgear Dual Band Wireless-N Gigabit model WNDR3700
Broadcast SSID: Enabled
Security: WPA2-PSK[AES] (8-63 characters or 64 hex digits)
Video Network: Enabled

I disconnected my Ethernet connection, and selected settings, then wireless. The player displayed every wireless connection it could find (all my neighbors were listed). I found my SSID, entered my credentials and within 30 seconds I was connected and scanning my Amazon account.
With the above said, I did not encounter the same issues as other reviewers trying to connect wirelessly. I understand their frustration and that is what prompted me to try wireless for myself, and unfortunately, I did not have any problems. I feel for my fellow consumers and hope they have found a product that suits their needs, however, this works for me and I am extremely pleased. Now, as for wireless, I am going back to Ethernet, it is faster! I am going to purchase another unit for the living room.

I hope this helps, best regards!

Sling Media SlingCatcher SC100-100 Universal Media Player for TV

This is the third video multi media player I have ordered in 6 weeks. The first two were a Brite-view and WD live. They didn’t cut my picky standards. The Argosy is a solid bug free unit. I have had it for 5 days and really like everything about it except the remote is very directional. It takes a little more hands on but I like that. Install your hard drive in it if you like and its a nice compact unit. To update at the time you copy the firmware off the website onto a flash drive. It doesn’t update on it’s own off the net maybe that will change but no big deal. This unit can see all the video files you need. It also has a built in cooling fan. I think this will increase the life of the unit. The remote works a lot like a standard DVD player remote if you push stop once on a playback it will resume the next time you hit play. If you hit stop twice it will start from the beginning on next play. It plays all the formates you can throw at it ,yes MKV. There web site has a good PDF manual [...].

Vulkano Pro 010410VP All-In-One Media Placeshifter Includes 500 GB eSATA Hard Disk Black

So far I’ve only tested this as a remote streaming device and have not experimented much with the DVR. I will update as soon as I’ve done more.

Streaming quality is the best out there. I’ve been through the original Slingbox, the Slingbox Solo, the Pro-HD and the various HAVA boxes, and this thing is simply outstanding. I’ve tested in-house streaming and remote streaming to my laptop on WiFi and 3G and my smartphone on 3G. In all cases, the video quality is almost as good as watching a locally stored video file.

The price appears to be high, but when you compare it with the $261 for a Slingbox PRO-HD, it is a bargain. The Sling lacks DVR, local TV watching, internal storage, placeshifting and more. Sling also charges $30 for their mobile clients, while the Vulkano mobile players are free.

There are a few bugs in the setup process, but this thing is just out, so I’ll cut them some slack to get those sorted out.

If you do not need a lot of DVR storage, stick with the cheaper version of this box.

PROS:

Can use as a full (single tuner) DVR
Can control for live TV and DVR on a mobile device
Free mobile players
Amazing streaming quality

CONS:

No internal tuner
Single DVR channel only
Does not appear to support network storage
Requires EXT3 formatted harddrive for video storage, with no “format drive” option to enable use of your own drives

Iomega ScreenPlay Director HD Media Player 2TB – 34653

Very cool product – just plug it into a PC with supplied USB cable and copy movies of any format then go plug into your TV with supplied HDMI cable and movies play instantly. Very small and portable to bring anywhere and it comes with all the cables it needs.

Xtreamer PRO Media Player & Network Streamer – NEW 2010 MODEL

This player is the best i tried the patriot box office (return it they always come out with new boot codes wich only them can upgrade slow firmware updates & very buggy) cinematube 3-1 (send back for the newer model) then the cinemago (return it firmware bug) had a weird bug that make me lost all my files of my seagate freeagent go 500GB (after playing media on it the player crash so i din’t turn it on again & bang my hardrive was shown in my computer as corrupted same on the seagate software it fix the hardrive but all my files gone they got corrupted with couple of partions of the hardive) lucky i had a backup hardrive otherwise it would it have been a total nightmare/catastrophe!!!

This player is just ******** amazing!!!

Nice UI menus
Playback
Support
Firmware updates when you leased expect them but fixing and adding new stuff they do listing to the community!!
Options
Online Stuff (TV,movies,Youtube,RSS,Weather etc….more)

Man i can’t describe it all but you can go to the site & check for yourself: [...]

Also download the manual if you want to check everything with pictures: [...]

And check it out all the new stuff that comes in the recent RC Firmware 2.4.20: [...]

If you’re looking for something looking awesome having support very often look no more this is not like the other company’s that they drop support on their recent/past units just cause a new model came out don’t believe me check the site out you won’t regret it!!!

It is worth your money it may cost a little more than the other ones you see online but get the one that is gonna give you what you want.

D-Link DPG-1200 PC-on-TV 802.11g Media Player

This product will not work on some CPUs.
You need one of the following CPUs–
* AMD K8-based CPUs (Athlon 64, Sempron 64, Turion 64, etc)
* Intel NetBurst-based CPUs (Pentium 4, Xeon, Celeron, Celeron D, etc)
* Intel Pentium M and Celeron M
* Intel Core-based CPUs (Core Duo, Core Solo, etc)
* Intel Core 2-based CPUs (Core 2 Duo, Core 2 Quad, etc)
* Transmeta Efficeon
* Via C7
List of CPUs [...]
I was unable to review the product itself because the software would not load on my AMD Athlon XP 2400+ cpu.
I think the product should be good because it solves a problem that many media players have with some file types.
This product grabs the video off the screen, so it should be able to play any video your computer can play. It does not support DirectX, though

Brite-View BV-6000P 1080p HD Multimedia Player with RM / RMVB & DTS Black

There are many similar products in the market right now, but the major reason why I chose this product was because it is the most reasonably priced. I ordered one and I really like it. I wanted something that can consolidate all of my media files in one place without having to worry about the codec for playback, and this product just does that. It plays the movies stored on my USB drive without any hiccups and even supports the DVD menu, so it feels like watching a movie on a DVD. The setup was a breeze with no problems whatsoever. Now my family and I can watch all of our movie collections on TV. I would recommend this product to anyone who watches uses their computer to watch movie.

Sony SVR-2000 Digital Video Recorder

There’s no other way to put it – I LOVE my Tivo! (Sony SVR-2000)
It has completely changed the way I watch TV and it means I can watch what I want to watch WHEN I want to watch it (and skip commercials)!

While not recommended for everyone, I hacked my Tivo to be a total of 160 hours (two 80GB drives). I now have tens of shows available for watching whenever I feel like it. There’s always something on!

My non-technophile wife even said that she was getting addicted to Tivo (a tremendous two-thumbs up from her!).

All in all, this ranks up there on my list of all-time coolest products ever.

Strengths:
– Features of the service – time shifting of programs, pause/rewind/fast-forwarding of recorded and live programs
– Hard drive access is instant – no waiting for tapes to rewind
– Ability to create a video-on-demand system
– Strong support of user community – search for “Tivo Community” on the web for more information
– Hackable!

Weaknesses:
– Can be slow to load some screens
– Best if you can split your TV signal to watch something else while Tivo is recording
– Basic recording level is coarse – I recommend Medium (about 20hrs of time on the SVR-2000)

D-Link MediaLounge High-Definition Media Player (DSM-510)

Finally, something I can recommend: the Dlink DSM-510. Here’s my story.

My wife bought me DSM-510 around Thanksgiving for this Christmas. They had it on sale. I did lots of research before hand to ensure that I knew what I was doing. I was going to ensure that the firmware on the unit was upgraded to v1.07. Problem was this unit was fubarred. I turned on with the Dlink screen and then went black. No video no nothing. The only way to get the unit to work again was to unplug it and wait acouple of minutes before plugging it back in. Regardless of what I tried. The Dlink screen would come one and something I could get alittle further into the next screen and then the video would go out. Back for a full refund. I found out that this particular unit was purchased and returned twice. I told them not to try to resell this brick.

I purchased a new one it was a different story. I plugged it in to the TV. It came on and went searching for the wireless network. I put in the wpa passcode was immediately connected. I had previously download TVerisity on my pc. Started the server and shared my media drives. I even went into the Windows firewall and made an exception for Tversity. Everything seemed to work on the network PCs but the DSM still could not see the TVersity server. It turns out that the you also have to go into your router and open up the port 41952. After I did this the DSM-510 saw the server and all my share folders and files. I had set TVersity profile to DSM-510 and while i could see the share divx/avi files they were grayed out and inaccessible. After searching on the TVersity forums and here on avsforum, I got the answer from a thread by tonedeafdan. You have to change the profile.xml file in the TVersity software application.

Open profiles.xml with Notepad or Wordpad and search for DSM-510, and then find the line:

<mimetype value=”video/MP4V-ES”><!– MPEG4 video format–>

Now delete that line, down through the line:

<mimetype value=”video/msvideo” rename=”video/x-msvideo”/>

And replace with the following lines (between the cut lines):

————– cut line ———————————————–

<mimetype value=”video/avi”>
<codec name=”MPEG4″/>
<codec name=”MP2″ maxBitrate=”320000″/>
<codec name=”MP3″ maxBitrate=”320000″/>
<codec name=”PCM_S16LE”/>
<codec name=”PCM_S16BE”/>
<codec name=”AC3″/>
<codec name=”DTS”/>
<codec name=”MP3″ maxBitrate=”320000″/>
</mimetype>

<mimetype value=”video/mp4v” rename=”video/avi”/>
<mimetype value=”video/mp4″ rename=”video/avi”/>
<mimetype value=”video/x-msvideo” rename=”video/avi”/>
<mimetype value=”video/msvideo” rename=”video/avi”/>
<mimetype value=”MP4V-ES” rename=”video/avi”/>

—————- cut line ———————————————

Then don’t forget to save the file and restart sharing!

After I edited the profile.xml. All was good. All my divx/xvid/avi files came up in black on the DSM-510. Everyone of my movies plaved wirelessly without any problems, no glitches, no skipping, or locking up. I even took the DSM-510 to rooms on far end of the house and hooked it up to TVs in the other rooms with serveral walls in between on different floor and still was able to run The 510 and play a video file completely with no stuttering or locking. Likewise the I was able to play the photos, and music files without problems. Actually, I was so happy with the way this unit finally functions that we went back to Fry’s tonight and purchased another DSM-510. Now I will have one in the theater room and another in any other room I choose.

Summary: This unit is great for the money. Athough it is not recommended for the uninitiated. It is by no means just plug and play. Dlink has done a horrible job with there supplied Nero server software and their firmware is never up to date. If you update the firmware to the latest v1.07 and use TVersity as the server with alittle modification then all will work well. Once you take the time to modify the setup for the way you want it will work flawlessly everytime. It does have an HDMI connection and you can also connect via RCA cables.

NETGEAR Digital Entertainer Live (Black)

This product is great for my needs. I don’t require the “ultimate” in streaming power; rather, I watch a lot of stuff on the Internet. The Digital Entertainer Live is perfect for this. In all the time I have been using it, it hasn’t locked up or stalled even once (honestly) and streams equally well from my network and the Internet (admittedly, I have a super fast 15 mbps connection.) It detects all of my videos with no problem, I didn’t even have to “scan” my network for files, it just found them – I was sharing them from a few different NAS devices. So it was virtually plug and play, not something you find very often.

There’s a huge selection of Internet channels you can watch; I especially enjoy the Joost channels, as there are many full television shows available. I’ll admit I’ve wasted many hours poking around in YouTube, too! The search feature works better than I expected and quickly finds what I’m looking for. You can even hook up a USB drive if you don’t want to stream videos, a nice feature for those who don’t have a NAS. I didn’t spend a lot of time streaming radio or live television, but those features are available.

There are a few things that the Elite lacks, such as not being able to stream full DVD’s (such as an .ISO) and the fact that to stream Netflix or Hulu, a separate software suite (PlayOn) must be purchased. I was disappointed in this since Netflix is what I use the most, but the software isn’t too expensive. I’ve heard a few people say “well I could just get the Netflix box” but the Live does so much more… it’s easy to forget that is not only streams Internet content but is also a full featured network media streamer with a USB port also.

The remote and menu system leave a bit to be desired; sometimes the delay between button press and menu reaction is somewhat slow (and I am ultra impatient) but it isn’t too bad, just isn’t as “snappy” as I would like. I don’t think these are “downsides” though per se; the Elite is a great value at $150, just some things to be aware of.

So if you are looking for a low cost Internet “entertainment box” that’s small and easy to use, and don’t care about streaming DVD rips, this is a great choice. I love it so far!

TiVo TCD648250B Series3 HD Digital Media Recorder

I’ve recently upgraded from the original TiVo to the new “Series3″ HD TiVo. This review was written with the new Series3 out for less than one month, so some of the shortcomings listed below may have been addressed by the time you read this.

TiVo did a spectacular job with the hardware. The recorder can hold ~35 hours of HDTV or ~300 hours of non-HD programming, which is significantly more than cable company-provided DVRs. The Series3 can record two shows at once — either OTA (connect an antenna to receive the networks) or cable via CableCards, and if you have a recent HDTV, the TiVo can output all the recording via HDMI (a pure digital connection between the TiVo and your HDTV). It also contains a host of less major upgrades (back lit remote, an OLED display, etc) that improve upon the famous TiVo experience.

I should point out that, at the time of writing, the Series3 is missing functionality that is available on older TiVos, such as ability to export shows to your PC, iPod, etc (TivoToGo), and the ability to view shows recorded on the Series3 on other TiVos in your house (Multi-room viewing). If these are important to you, you may want to delay your purchase until this functionality is added (currently, there is no guarantee they will be available). I rated the item as “4 stars” because of the missing functionality.

If you plan on viewing only OTA (ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, etc via an antenna) programming, you can stop reading this review, since the rest of it deals with using TiVo with cable company supplied CableCards.

Most people who purchase a TiVo Series3 do so with the intention of using it with their cable service, and the only way to receive digital (non-basic) cable service on the Series3 is with the use of cable company-supplied CableCards. Unlike older TiVos, a cable box cannot be connected to the Series3. If you plan on using a Series3 with cable, be aware that getting and installing CableCards *can* be very difficult, and you may wish to check with your cable provider prior to purchasing the Series3. Some caveats, based on my experience with the second largest cable provider:

(1) The customer service agents flatly refused to provide CableCards for use in a TiVo. It required multiple calls and escalations to finally have a manager “approve” the install. You should note that cable companies are *required*, by law, to provide CableCards for compatible devices. Most cable companies charge a monthly fee (usually less than $2) for each CableCard.

(2) Some cable companies require a technician to “install” the cards on premises, which may cost you $35 – $45 for the install (again, check with your cable co). Unfortunately for me, the installer couldn’t activate the cards. This also appears to be a frequent issue at the time of writing. Multiple calls later, I finally found a customer service agent who was able to activate both cards.

(3) With CableCards, you cannot receive OnDemand and Pay Per View events. You should also note that some cable companies are placing channels on “Switched Digital Video” (SDV). SDV channels are not compatible with the Series3, so check with your cable provider.

(4) Finally, if you subscribe to a cable package such a digital cable + broadband Internet, you cable price may not go down if you return your set-top box. In my case, the price would actually have *increased* since, without the cable box, since I would not be eligible for the package pricing. Needless to say, I kept the cable box.

Overall, I am satisfied with my Series3. The initial installation problems caused a couple of headaches, but once resolved, it has performed quite well. Some of cable company problem might become less frustrating once the cable co gains more experience with this product.

ReplayTV RTV5504 40-Hour Digital Video Recorder

First of all, the DVR (digital video recorder) category is amazing. It is not just an incremental step up from a vcr — these things make TV watching far more convenient. Start a show whenever you want, pause it, rewind live tv, etc etc. There are plenty of reviews on all of that, so just a word on choosing a Tivo or a Replay:

I have 2 Replays and 1 Tivo now. On the whole, both are great and for the most part, they do exactly the same set of things. The only “important” feature that Replay has that Tivo does not is the ability to skip commercials automatically, which works most of the time and is very cool. The only major feature Tivo has that Replay doesn’t is that it automatically records “similar” shows to ones you’ve chosen in the past to fill unused disk space — also cool. Outside of these two, they are functionally very similar.

The main differentiator I find is power vs. ease of use. Tivo is slightly easier to use — our 5 year old is a pro at it. Replay requires a couple extra keystrokes, but is a bit more flexible, such as giving you more range on how many of each show to save to use your disk space, etc.

If any of the above are decision makers for you (commercial skip, auto record, or ease of use vs. flexibility), then go with it. If not, the rest really is about the same so just shop on price.

Enjoy — they’re both great.

Refurbished LG Electronics LRM-519 Digital Media DVR/DVD Recorder with 160 GB Hard Drive

I bought this dvd recorder and I couldn’t be more pleased with it. It is extremely user friendly. It is easy to make copies of camcorder or vhs movies. Dvd movies look great on my hdtv. I have it connected in the video2 mode so that if I want to record a tv show, I can just hit record. We looked at all the offerings from the other major manufacturers and this one sold us because of the added feature of being able to insert our media cards from a digital camera and view our pictures or store them on DVD. I don’t believe any other manufacturer offers this feature. We paid a little more but you get what you pay for and we got everything we wanted and needed. Great product LG!.

D-Link DivX Connected HD Media Player (DSM-330)

I’ve been using the DivX Connected box for over a year now as I got it while it was in beta test. We use it a lot and it works very, very well at what it was designed to do: play on your TV/stereo the media that are located on your PC. We have gobs of movies and children’s shows and music on our PC upstairs. In the basement is our main TV. Having a PC in the basement would not be good, as they tend to be loud and hot. This unit interacts with the DivX Connected software running on the media PC upstairs and converts, on the fly, all our media to a format that looks quite good on our TV. Of course, the files that are small (e.g., QVGA video files) will not look terribly good blown up to 1080p, but reasonable files (most of our stuff is ripped to VGA or 720×480) looks excellent. My only quibble is that our unit sometimes will hang upon startup forcing me to yank and reinsert the power cable. I chalk that up to it being a beta unit and I assume these D-Link units do not have that issue. For the price, this unit offers a LOT of functionality and works very well. We’ve tried over half a dozen different video/media streamers and this is the only one we’ve kept.

Philips HDR212 TiVo 20 Hour Digital Video Recorder

Philips is going to hate me for writing this, but I have found TiVo to be useful even though I am not a subscriber to their service. I hesitated to buy this for a while becuase I thought either a small monthly charge or a large one-time payment went with the cost of the recorder. I read in the documentation that the recorder would have “limited capability” without the subscription to the service, but that amount of capability was really what I was looking for, so I don’t plan to EVER subscribe to their service.

Without subscribing, I can pause live TV, do an “instant replay” of it, and record by time and channel. TiVo is more convenient for doing these operations than a VCR because I don’t have to fool with tapes and cue them up to find the beginning of a show. Because TiVo is digital, the video quality is better than a tape. On the highest quality setting I have the same level of digital quality of my satellite dish. The thing that I’ve found the most useful is that I can watch a recorded show while making a recording of another, which a VCR can’t do.

I realize that some people like the features that come with the TiVo subscription. If people choose to pay for those things, that’s their choice. I can’t use the TiVo guide to look through the listings and select by name a program to be recorded. TiVo doesn’t make suggestions for me based on the shows I’ve previously selected, and it doesn’t automatically record my favorite shows if the time changes. But I know which shows I want to record every day, and DirecTv has a good guide that I can search through to find other shows to record. When I come home in the evening, I still have good shows to spend my limited TV time on, and I still have the money that I would have spent on the service.

Hauppauge 1198 WinTV-HVR-950 TV Tuner Stick/Personal Video Recorder with Remote Control (Black)

I am using this tuner as part of a Beyond TV setup with multiple tuner cards for receiving OTA HDTV broadcasts. Installing the tuner software was easy, and its tuning sensitivity seems as good as the other brands of HDTV tuner cards I have used. I have not tested the remote control with it, so I cannot comment on that part of it. I did not try the video-in option or the included antenna so I cannot comment on those either. I briefly hooked my analog cable up to it and it seemed to tune those channels well also. The included software suite is adequate and does what it says it does. Its compact size would make it great for travel and/or a laptop.

When you hook this up you may want to use the USB extender cable to minimize strain on your computer’s USB port from the cable attached to the tuner weighing down on the port.

Needless to say, the only disadvantage of this type of product vs. a plug-in card or USB box is that you must chooses if you want CATV or OTA HDTV, since many of the cards and USB boxes offer separate F-connectors for cable and OTA signals. Their may be a way to combine both signals on one cable, but I did not attempt that. Video input is separate via a small port on the tuner stick, so that input can be used with either setup. Also, to the best of my knowledge this stick does not have a hardware-based MPEG-2 decoder. Some products require at least one tuner in their setup to have a hardware-based decoder, so you may want to double-check your application to be sure.

In short, this is a great product and I would buy another one. I’ve used Hauppauge products for years, and found them to be well designed and reasonably priced. This tuner continues that tradition.

High Resolution Mini DVR Video/Audio Recorder

We returned this product to Amazon because we thought it wasn’t recording video. The seller saw my earlier review which pretty much trashed this product and gave us a phone call. He sent us another recorder for us to try. We tried the new recorder today and discovered that the video is actually recorded to the device’s internal memory and not on the flash card as we had thought.

After recording a video, the flash card looks like it has a video file (*.avi), but it really does not have the video. Note that photos can be recorded to the flash card, but not video.

We experimented by removing the flash card and discovered the video on the internal memory. We could playback the video on our PC from that memory. Perhaps, the flash card is too slow for recording???? We don’t know that answer, but we can view the videos on our PC if we go to the internal memory of the device.

Like others who have written their reviews, we agree the manual is poorly written and the picture of the device in the manual does not match the actual device.

Viewsonic VMP70 1080p Full HD Digital Media Player

This review compares the Viewsonic VMP70 and WD TV HD Live, which I both have. First off, I only want to archive dvd movies with the vob file structure in them. The VMP70 will play vob files, with the menu and chapter system working, just like a real dvd. Archived movies that are unprotected (without CSS) will play very well. Protected movies (with CSS) will not play properly. WDTVHD Live, will play vob files (in one continuous stream) but will not play the menu and chaptering structure. If you pause or stop (WD), you can start where you left off. If you jump from one vob file to another, WD will ask if you want OK to continue or cancel to restart. WD support says the work around here is to create a playlist of the chapters, vob or avi files within a folder. I have not tried this, but it still defeats the purpose of the menu and chaptering structure.

There are software out there that can convert vob files to another file system, like avi, in a reduced file size and still play very well. Some software can break the avi file into chapters. I have tried it. Works well. You don’t have to do that with the vmp70, because of the goto function. GoTo function / playback search: by title (if active in the movie), by chapter (if active in the movie), by time (very useful). VMP70 will play any file, may it be vob, avi, mov, mp4, etc one after the other in one sequence if you choose to play the file directly, within the directory structure. The trick here is to create a folder for each movie that has divided vob or avi or mov, etc files in it, so they don’t mix. WD will play one file at a time then stop within a folder. There might be an option for WD to play continuously, I have not explored that yet.

VMP70 reads the directory tree, folders and subfolders. If there are several subfolders within a tree, you have to go “back button” several times to go back to the root directory of the connected drive. Or hit “Home” to start all over. WD works similarly. The WD has a text search function which makes it faster to go to a particular file or movie title.

VMP70 remote control works farther and is more responsive, and may not be directly aimed at the player. Has more direct functions, volume control. WD remote: very weak, has to be near and aimed directly. Fewer functions. VMP70 can go 32x FF or Rev. Has slow mo. WD can only go 16x FF/Rev. No slow mo. Both has zoom
in/out and pan function. Advice for WD media player owners: Make sure battery polarity is installed correctly on the remote control. Reverse battery installation will smoke it. Happened to a friend who accidentally installed batteries the wrong way. Apparently, the WD remote does not have reverse polarity diode protection if batteries are installed the wrong way.

WD Live has network and wireless (with usb wifi dongle) capabiltiy. On VMP70, none. But I will try to connect a usb to RJ45 network dongle or usb wifi dongle to see if it will work. On VMP70, I hooked up an unpowered usb 4 port hub. On the hub, connected two 8GB usb stick, and one unpowered 500GB external usb drive. They all were read by the player. Media files on them were read and played accordingly without error and degradation. On that usb port, 3 drives were read with the drive names displayed on screen. WD will not read all usb devices connected to a usb hub. In my case, WD only read one device (I guess the strongest of the three).

I like both players. WD having network capability and some internet access to some sites like Pandora, maybe youtube if it still works. You can transfer files between folders on usb port and network on WD; search function. VMP70 for playing menu and chapter system, goto function, ability to read usb devices connected to a hub, more remote control function. Both players have their own strengths and weaknesses. You decide what you want. Both are keepers for me, one upstairs, one downstairs.

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